Retiree remembered as good, hard-working man
Senior’s slaying one of two homicides in five days in city’s core
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The family of a Winnipeg homicide victim who was found inside a downtown apartment building last week is relieved a suspect has been arrested.
City police have charged Joy Nancy Moose, 31, with second-degree murder for the killing of recent retiree Richard Darryl Wheeler, 65.
“I’m just glad they caught somebody,” Wheeler’s son Curtis Richard said Monday. “My dad was a good man. He was a hard-working man for 45 years.”
Wheeler’s death is one of two homicides in five days in the city’s core. The other incident happened at the Manwin Hotel, located on Main Street just north of Logan Avenue, on Sunday.
It is at least the third homicide at the hotel since the summer of 2017.
Wheeler died in hospital after he was found with serious injuries in an apartment building at Hargrave Street and Qu’Appelle Avenue at about 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday. He is the city’s second homicide victim of 2023.
Moose and Wheeler were acquaintances, according to police.
Moose is also charged with assaulting a peace officer and a warrant for being unlawfully at large.
Police allege she assaulted a homicide detective while in custody.
Wheeler, a grandfather who had three biological children and two step-children, worked as a roofer for decades before retiring about three months ago, said Richard.
Shortly before he was killed, Wheeler talked to his former boss about returning to work.
“He was a nice guy, he was a fun guy. He cared a lot and took care of his family,” the son said.
Wheeler, who lived alone in a suite inside the block, was found in a hallway after being assaulted, according to Richard.
“They left him fighting for his life,” he said.
Police have not revealed a motive nor how Wheeler was killed.
No additional arrests are anticipated, said Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon.
Richard, who doesn’t know the suspect, said his family has been taking things “day by day” since the homicide.
He wondered if any residents in their suites heard what was happening in the hallway.
“It was literally during the day. I don’t know how anybody could not hear the commotion or hear all the movements and all the sounds in the hallway,” he said. “I would have intervened. People need to help each other out, instead of letting this happen.”
No one has been arrested in Sunday’s homicide at the Manwin Hotel, which is the city’s third slaying this year, after a record 53 homicides in 2022.
Police said Carl George Wescoupe, 40, was found dead when officers entered a suite.
Wescoupe had suffered “severe” injuries, according to police.
Officers went to the hotel after a different man showed up at a hospital with a serious injury at about 5:30 p.m.
While speaking to police, the man, who is in his 30s, indicated someone else might be injured at the hotel.
The hospital contacted police about the younger man’s injury.
Police did not release details about how Wescoupe was killed.
Officers remained at the scene Monday.
Wescoupe was charged with assault with a weapon following a stabbing at a Kennedy Street apartment in March 2022. Charges in that incident were stayed, according to court records.
Police have investigated at least three homicides at the Manwin in recent years.
Steven Anthony Sealy, 25, died after he was stabbed at the hotel on April 16, 2020. John Blaine Flett, 50, was stabbed to death on July 16, 2017.
Housing advocate Nick McIvor has raised concerns about living conditions and violent incidents at the hotel in the past.
“I’m emotionally sad for the person involved, and on top of that pretty pissed,” he said following the latest homicide.
More work must be done to address the root causes of crime, including addiction, and provide stable, safe and adequate housing for people in need, according to McIvor.
Mayor Scott Gillingham agreed the city needs to work on preventing crime and making Winnipeg safer.
“I want a safer city. I want us to be focusing on crime prevention,” he said. “Where there are problematic areas, no matter where they are in the city of Winnipeg, those are areas that we should look at addressing.”
Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) did not respond to a request for comment.
The Manwin was temporarily shut down in February 2021 — forcing tenants to find places to stay — after provincial health inspectors found a lack of heat and issues with the water supply and sprinkler system.
About a year later, a city council committee denied the owner’s appeal of $75,000 in penalties tied to safety and building code infractions.
The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service’s fire prevention team visited the property 56 times from 2018 to 2022, with two full inspections taking place, a spokeswoman said.
Eight fires inside and outside the building were reported during the five-year period.
A spokeswoman said the province worked on a heating issue in January with the owner, who carried out repairs.
Anyone with information about either homicide is asked to call detectives at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
— with files from Malak Abas and Joyanne Pursaga
As a general assignment reporter, Chris covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.