Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
A long hot summer of violence?
Several police and justice sources have recently told me to expect a long, hot summer in terms of street and gang violence.
There is plenty of flux right now in the local crime scene as police have made some significant dents with recent arrests and seizures.Still, the demand for the products supplied by local hoods - drugs - is as big as ever and that means plenty of competition for the almighty dollar.In the past we may have been inclined to say 'Oh well, let the criminals take each other out" and simply gone on our merry way.But the October 2005 shooting death of 17-year-old Phil Haiart - an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of gang warfare - was a disturbing reality check for many.Let's hope it doesnt come to that again. But developments during the past week should have us all concerned.
As you can read HERE
, there were two separate weekend shootings which left one man dead and two others seriously injured. Police say both may be gang-related.Maybe the most disturbing case is the one my colleague, Bruce Owen, reported exclusively on late last week.A Hells Angels was stabbed in a Corydon Avenue bar in a case that shows even the world's most powerful criminal organization isn't immune from coming under attack. (Read story HERE
)Why should this worry us? Well, the fact is the Hells are perhaps in the biggest state of confusion right now, with several members behind bars either convicted of serious charges or facing them.
Many insiders believe they are ripe for a challenge to the virtual monopoly they enjoy in this province - and the fact that someone would boldly attack a member with a knife might suggest it has already started.As Bruce reported, "Some sources said the attack could be a prelude to a gang war, in that a Hells Angel was apparently targeted for no other reason than he’s one of 14 Hells Angels in Manitoba."And that can't be good for anyone living in Manitoba. Just ask folks in Quebec how they enjoyed having a biker battle erupt on their streets several years ago.This will be something to watch very closely in the next few weeks.www.mikeoncrime.com