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Police issue warning after girl assaulted on way to school

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Police, parents and neighbours alike are worried after a man grabbed and assaulted a young girl this week on her way to Dalhousie School.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/03/2022 (322 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Police, parents and neighbours alike are worried after a man grabbed and assaulted a young girl this week on her way to Dalhousie School.

The girl (described as middle-school aged) was walking east on Greencrest Avenue toward Ulster Street between 8:30 am. and 9:30 a.m. Monday, when a man approached her from behind and pulled her to the ground, Winnipeg Police Service Const. Dani McKinnon told reporters Wednesday.

The man tried to drag the girl before she kicked herself free and ran home in the Fort Richmond neighbourhood, police said. She didn’t need medical attention.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A man grabbed and assaulted a young girl this week on her way to Dalhousie School.

The suspect fled on foot. He was reported to be in his 20s or 30s, approximately 5-10, with an average build and unkempt appearance, McKinnon said. The man was wearing a dark hoodie, dark baggy jeans and a tuque, as well as a black face mask.

“Somebody that maybe is in the area, perhaps living a transient lifestyle — there’s just not enough information at this time but I want to provide that context,” McKinnon said, adding the incident was “very disturbing.”

“I’ve been doing this job now for almost 20 years, I’m a parent… these kind of random events are extremely concerning,” she said.

“It’s scary, parents will have to use their own judgment — perhaps kids can start walking together… We’ll continue to patrol the areas, the school has been very actively working with us.”

Pembina Trails School Division superintendent Ted Fransen said officials were upset to learn of what had happened but pleased the student is safe.

“The school and WPS were able to respond quickly, since the student reported the incident to a trusted adult ASAP,” he wrote in a statement Wednesday.

Pembina Trails has a long-standing association with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, which runs a program called “Kids in the Know.”

“It provides a very effective strategy for students to be aware of their surroundings and to be mindful of how they interact with each other and adults,” Fransen said.

Police are asking for any businesses or residents in the area with information or security camera footage to contact the child investigations unit at 204-986-3296.

“We do believe that somebody may have inadvertently seen something,” McKinnon said.

Chris Mitchell, who was picking up his five-year-old daughter from kindergarten at the elementary school Wednesday, said he’s going to be even more careful with her safety than he already was.

“When I saw (the notification from the school) it freaked me out a little bit… It could’ve been my daughter, anybody’s kid that goes to this school,” the 39-year-old father of two said.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS The girl (described as middle-school aged) was walking east on Greencrest Avenue toward Ulster Street Monday morning, when a man approached her from behind and pulled her to the ground.

“Now I’m going to be a little bit more overprotective — making sure she’s actually in the class before I leave the property.”

The stretch of Greencrest Avenue where the incident occurred is a quiet residential street, lined with single-family homes on one side and a thick patch of trees on the other, about a block south of thoroughfare Dalhousie Drive.

On Wednesday afternoon, a police cruiser circled the block.

A 34-year-old mother of two, Riti, has lived on the street for 10 years (she requested the Free Press withhold her surname because the suspect is still at large).

Her five-year-old daughter goes to Dalhousie School, while her 13-year-old son goes to a nearby junior high.

“It’s shocking to hear, because this is a very well-used street, we see a lot of kids walking around — we haven’t heard anything (criminal) on this street for 10 years,” said Riti.

“You would feel kids going to school are safe, right? It feels like we got to watch out for our kids.”

erik.pindera@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @erik_pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera
Reporter

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

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