15-year-old charged with murder, second teen at large in Point Douglas attacks
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A 15-year-old male has been charged in what Winnipeg police say were random attacks — including the slaying of a 36-year-old woman — in Point Douglas Monday, and a Canada-wide warrant has been issued for a second teenage suspect.
More assailants are suspected to have been involved in the vicious attacks on three men, police said.
The teenager, who was arrested Wednesday, is charged with second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. The teen who remains at large faces the same charges.
“This is terrible and not the answer I want to provide to you, but it appears all of these incidents are random,” Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon said.
She wouldn’t reveal a possible motive, including whether the violence was part of a gang initiation.
“I think the investigators, who are extremely skilled and seasoned (are) exploring all avenues. That would be something they would consider,” McKinnon said.
Danielle Dawn Ballantyne was found dead in a suite at 189 Jarvis Ave. around 7 a.m.
Police declared her death a homicide the following day and said the nearby attacks on three men were linked. Homicide investigators began a wide-sweeping investigation.
The bloodshed began around 4:30 a.m. Monday.
A man was found with serious injuries in a parking lot on the 800 block of Main Street. About 30 minutes later, an injured man was discovered in a lane behind the 600 block of Main Street. Those men remain in critical condition.
Police said the two teens are not accused of a third crime that took place around 5:30 a.m. An injured man was taken to hospital in stable condition after he waved down patrolling officers near Logan Avenue and the Disraeli Freeway.
The assault is connected to the other cases, McKinnon said. No one has been arrested for that crime.
Investigators suspect there may have been more assailants involved in the attack on the 800 block of Main.
Residents and community members are frightened by the random violence, McKinnon said. She would not comment on the background of the victims, but advocates suspect they are homeless or otherwise vulnerable.
“We’re not establishing a link… between the victims. That area of the city, it’s densely populated with close-knit community members, but there’s a large population of vulnerable people that are present there day and night. These attacks all occurred early in the morning,” McKinnon said.
“We don’t have a motive to say that a specific type of victim was targeted.”
Police have increased vehicle and foot patrols in the area, she said, and have been working with the community.
“Everybody’s really working together to look out for each other,” McKinnon said.
Jason Whitford, CEO of End Homelessness Winnipeg, said he was relieved one teen is in custody and another accused has been identified.
“I’m very pleased to see Winnipeg police prioritizing this and the community coming together to support the investigation,” Whitford said.
He said there needs to be a co-ordinated strategy for the safety and well-being of people on the street.
Detectives suspect more people were assaulted, but have not come forward. McKinnon would not say why police believe that. Investigators want to help other victims and glean more information about the assailants.
McKinnon said the attackers didn’t use a gun, but she wouldn’t reveal whether a weapon was used.
She said little about the suspect who is at large, including his age, because there is “always a risk that a suspect could flee.”
Neither of the suspects can be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. When youth suspects are at large and the circumstances warrant it, police can release their names with a judge’s consent.
“This information, with the arrest (Wednesday) and now the warrant, it’s all happened quite quickly. Investigators are actively taking steps to identify this person. When that needs to happen, it certainly would happen,” McKinnon said.
Police are working with community organizations to provide support to Ballantyne’s family.
“I’m very pleased to see Winnipeg police prioritizing this and the community coming together to support the investigation.” – Jason Whitford, CEO of End Homelessness Winnipeg
She was originally from Misipawistik Cree Nation, about 415 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. Her loved ones said she had been through hard times, including drug addiction and living from place to place, but had recently made positive strides.
“She was a beautiful spirit, and she didn’t deserve what happened to her,” her sister, Lorraine Ballantyne, said Wednesday. “Losing her is very hard. She was the rock of our family.”
Whitford said Ballantyne had used the services at N’Dinawemak community resource centre on the Disraeli Freeway and that staff, others in the sector and people in the community are mourning her death.
She is the city’s 34th slaying victim this year.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 204-786-8477.
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.
Updated on Thursday, August 25, 2022 6:15 PM CDT: Updates earlier webbie to final version.
Updated on Thursday, August 25, 2022 7:11 PM CDT: sentence rephrased
Updated on Thursday, August 25, 2022 9:27 PM CDT: Further edits