Arsonist sought in death of ‘incredibly nice’ Osborne Village store owner


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A 60-year-old woman pulled from an Osborne Village mom-and-pop convenience store as flames raged inside was the victim of an arsonist.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/08/2021 (583 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A 60-year-old woman pulled from an Osborne Village mom-and-pop convenience store as flames raged inside was the victim of an arsonist.

Police say the fire at E-Mart convenience store at 157 Scott St. Sunday night was one of four deliberately set by a man in the neighbourhood.

Jung Ja Shin was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died. Her son, 30-year-old Jason Shin, who ran the store, escaped.

Police said the blaze was originally treated as suspicious and then became a homicide probe.

Several images and surveillance video show the suspect attempting to set a fire at 10:40 p.m. Police released the images and asked the public for help to find the culprit.

“It looks like the individual is attempting to start fires. That’s what we see,” WPS Const. Rob Carver said.

“What’s going on in the mind of the individual and why they would do that. It doesn’t appear that the building was started on fire or attempted to be started on fire, specifically, with the intent that someone would die, because of the nature of the other fires.”

The blaze spread to a neighbouring home at 363 Wardlaw Ave. The suspect also set a blaze at 151 Scott St., but it burned out. He unsuccessfully attempted to start two other fires: at 137 Scott St. and 369 Stradbrook Ave., police said.

The arsonist is described as a white man, 5-10 with an athletic build, short light hair or a shaved head. He was wearing a blue Adidas baseball hat, a black T-shirt and shorts, black sneakers and a black face mask.

Shin’s son declined to be interviewed through a family friend, Justin Luschinski, who said the mother and son worked at the store together, were originally from Toronto and that Jung spoke mostly Korean, but her kindness transcended the language barrier.

“She was super nice, she was incredibly nice, very supportive,” he said. “Jason loved her very much and would do anything for her.”

Neighbourhood residents extended their kindness to the family by starting a fundraiser for Jason, and they will hold a vigil in Jung’s honour on Thursday evening.

Osborne resident Adrian Crittenden was inspired to start a GoFundMe campaign after learning about the tragedy. He would regularly see Jung sweep the front steps of the store.

He said he was “heartbroken” by the news.

“She was just so happy. Just always had the biggest smile on her face. You know that she was just pouring her heart into this store and into this community,” he said. “It was less about what she did and more just about her presence, just being so friendly all the time.”

“I always knew going there that it was going to be a little bit more than just grabbing the milk,” he said.

Megan Ross lives just down the street from the E-Mart. She said she found refuge in its walls, especially during the pandemic, when she was too nervous to go to big-box stores.

She couldn’t hold back tears when describing Jung, whom she remembered would often do shopping runs for customers with disabilities and once gave her two pairs of mittens for Christmas after Ross repeatedly went into the store with bare hands one winter.

“They were just very, very kind,” she said. “She would open the door for you if you had too many bags in your hands — she would run around. They were always working really hard.”

She has organized a walk around the community in Jung’s memory at 8 p.m. Thursday at 8 p.m., which she hopes will give the community a chance to reflect on the impact Jung had on them.

“Osborne is very large, but so small. There are a lot of small businesses,” she said. “We frequent these places, and we get to know these people. I just want to encourage people to understand that building relationships with people is very important.”

Twitter: malakabas_

Malak Abas

Malak Abas

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.


Updated on Thursday, August 19, 2021 6:11 AM CDT: Adds video

Updated on Thursday, August 19, 2021 6:18 AM CDT: Adds image

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