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Accused teen killer fell prey to drugs, gangs: granddad

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The grandfather of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing two people in Point Douglas says he was influenced by drugs and gangs in his home community and his troubles worsened when he was put into a group home.

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The grandfather of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing two people in Point Douglas says he was influenced by drugs and gangs in his home community and his troubles worsened when he was put into a group home.

The boy cannot be named by law, although Winnipeg police had identified him and released his photo, when he remained at large and a danger to the public last month.

He is one of two 15-year-old males charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault in relation to violent attacks on the Main Street strip on Aug. 22.

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS FILES

Marvin William Felix, 54, was attacked in a lane behind a hotel on the 600 block of Main Street. He died Aug. 25.

The grandfather offered his family’s prayers and condolences to the families of the victims.

“We know the pain you’re going through, and the suffering, and the confusion, the anger, all those emotions… we can only offer that,” said the grandfather, who cannot be identified.

A 36-year-old mother, Danielle Dawn Ballantyne, was identified as the first slaying victim. Her body was found in a Jarvis Avenue apartment around 7 a.m., not far from where three other attacks occurred.

Marvin William Felix, 54, was attacked in a lane behind a hotel on the 600 block of Main Street. He died Aug. 25.

Another man, in his 50s, was critically injured in an attack on the 800 block of Main Street. Police have said they suspect more assailants were involved in that assault. Another man was injured in an assault near Logan Avenue and the Disraeli Freeway. No one has been charged in relation to that case.

The grandfather said his grandson started to be influenced by a culture of gangs and drugs in Long Plain First Nation before he was taken into care around the age of 12.

He was put into a group home in western Manitoba and that’s when the boy’s behaviour worsened. Although the family is uncertain whether he’s in a gang or affiliated with one, his attitude became that of a “typical young gangster.”

He ran away from the group home and was returned at least once, his granddad said.

He was later placed in a group home in Winnipeg that had more support. His grandfather said that could have had a positive effect on the teen.

He said he believes if the child and family services agency had placed the teen in the Winnipeg group home initially, he would have received help.

“I think we would not have (him) facing these criminal charges, serious criminal charges — we’re talking murder here,” the grandfather said.

He said the temporary release of his grandson’s name to the public during the time he was at large led to condemnation of the family on social media.

“He is branded armed and dangerous, and in the public’s eye is a typical little Indian gangster,” he said.

SUPPLIED

Danielle Dawn Ballantyne was identified as the first slaying victim.

Manitoba First Nations Police Service officers arrested the teen on Aug. 27, in Long Plain First Nation, where he had gone to see his mother and family “one last time,” said the grandfather, who witnessed the arrest.

“We talked to the police officers, the senior officer, and the other side of the family came and the police service allowed a cellphone into the house,” he said.

“When they got the cellphone in the house, we had different talks with (the accused) and his girlfriend and we told him, ‘Look, they’re going to come in with a search warrant, they’re waiting for the search warrant, whether you like it or not, and things could go sideways.’”

Police instructed the accused and his girlfriend to leave the home with their arms up.

“It was a real emotional moment for us, to see our grandson have to come out and get handcuffed, but we knew it had to be this way; better than any other alternative,” the grandfather said.

He asked that the legal process to be respected and for the public to withhold judgment.

The grandfather was present as police questioned the teen.

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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