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A Bird, free — but for how long?

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RCMP in Alberta have again resorted to relatively drastic measures in hopes of bringing a measure of closure to a cold-blooded killing with close ties to Winnipeg.

On Jan. 1, 2013, Lloyd Sarson, who had deep connections to Winnipeg, was gunned down in an alleyway in the Eastview area of Red Deer. He was 25 years old. 

Soon after, police obtained a court order allowing them to release the name and picture of a teen suspect and gang associate in hopes of finding him.

Today, RCMP did the same thing in their quest to locate Adam William Bird, AKA: "Gwap," who they say is linked to a gang with interprovincial reach.

(I suspect, but can't confirm to a perfect degree at this moment, it's likely the Mad Cowz/African Mafia street gangs. The location of Red Deer fits pretty well). 

Police also upped the ante by offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Bird's arrest. RCMP also pledged strict confidentiality, a necessary feature given the gang undertones in the case.

Bird was 17 at the time of Sarson's death, so naturally he's protected by the privacy provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Police obtained a temporary court order permitting them to breach the act in hopes of something shaking loose. It expires next Tuesday.

We saw this tactic (the court order, not the reward offer) used twice in Winnipeg last year, and in each case there were gang overtones to the events surrounding them.

It appears to have worked in one of the cases, but not the other.

A teen suspect accused of gunning down Nigel Dixon in cold blood in the West End remains at large.

In the Bird/Sarson case — and it's not a stretch he could be here in Manitoba — people are asked to call the RCMP Major Crimes Unit in Calgary at 403-519-7306 or 403-519-7307.

In the Dixon case, anyone with information can naturally call the Winnipeg police homicide squad at 204-986-6508 or CrimeStoppers at 204-786-TIPS. 

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About James Turner

James Turner rejoined the Free Press as a justice-beat reporter in August 2013 after a number of years away working at other media outlets, including the Winnipeg Sun and CBC Manitoba.

A reporter in Winnipeg since 2005, he got his first taste of the justice beat as a former Free Press intern, then as the newspaper's police reporter from 2008-09.

Among the topics he's eager to cover are youth crime, street gangs, child-welfare and how the mental health and justice systems intersect.

An avid blogger and early adopter of Twitter, James (@heyjturner) loves to write long, much to the frustration of his editors.

He despises animal cruelty. He loves 80s music and his tubby labrador retriever.


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