Three stabbed, another injured in three hours of random downtown violence
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Two men were rushed to hospital Friday after being stabbed — one while shopping at a store on Portage Avenue — in the latest random violence in Winnipeg’s core.
The stabbings were among four reported assaults in downtown in a span of about three hours March 10.
In a news release Monday, Winnipeg police said the two stabbing victims, both in their 30s, were taken to hospital in unstable condition and later upgraded to stable.
The first was shopping at a store on the 200 block of Portage Avenue, near Donald Street, when he was confronted by a man with a knife and stabbed at about 5 p.m., police said.
The suspect fled the store, which police did not identify.
A few minutes later, the same suspect confronted another man who was walking on the sidewalk and, after a quick conversation, stabbed him, police said.
“These stabbings were considered random by an individual presenting with the effects of consuming methamphetamine,” Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon said.
She said police presence in the area is common, with officers on foot patrol frequently monitoring skywalks and Transit corridors.
“The quick arrest of the suspect prevented additional incidents from occurring,” McKinnon said.
Julius Kincaid Kilbourne, 28, of Winnipeg, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, according to court records. He was slated to appear in court Monday.
Kilbourne has a lengthy history of criminal convictions dating to 2013, including nine convictions for varying levels of assault, including one count of assaulting a police officer, court records show.
On Oct. 15, 2013, he was convicted of assault with a weapon, uttering threats, causing a disturbance, break-and-enter theft, and two administrative breaches, for offences committed in June and September. He was given time served of 30 days, plus three years of supervised probation and a 10-year weapons prohibition.
Most recently, on Jan. 19, Kilbourne pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and two counts of failing to comply with his probation order. He was given a one-day sentence and five months of supervised probation, on top of the time he had already spent in jail since his arrest last October.
On Saturday, police reported two other assaults in the area that occurred March 10.
At about 8 p.m., a 47-year-old woman was assaulted in a random attack near Main Street and James Avenue in the Exchange District.
Officers determined the woman was near the intersection when a suspect approached and attacked her, causing her to fall and strike her head on the concrete. The attack continued until a Good Samaritan intervened, police said.
Paramedics assessed the victim at the scene. She did not need to be taken to hospital.
Ernest Anderson Ballantyne, 39, of Winnipeg, was arrested shortly after and charged with assault.
Ballantyne has no past convictions, but prior to his arrest he was wanted by police for a charge of assault cause bodily harm allegedly committed Dec. 11, court records show.
Also Friday around 5 p.m., a 46-year-old man was taken to hospital after being stabbed in the upper body on the 200 block of Hargrave Street. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition, later upgraded to stable.
Police have announced no arrests in that case, which was not connected to the Portage Avenue stabbings, officials said. Major crimes investigators are still probing the incident, McKinnon said.
The attacks are the latest spate of violence downtown.
On March 1, a group of four international students from Providence University College and Theological Seminary were injured in an unprovoked daylight attack.
The Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone directed comment to the Downtown Community Safety Partnership and the police service.
Mayor Scott Gillingham said there’s a need to make downtown, and elsewhere in the city, a safer place.
“I appreciate that the most recent news indicates that the Winnipeg Police Service has made a couple of arrests on violent incidents this weekend in the downtown,” Gillingham told reporters Monday.
He pointed to recent funding for Transit safety officers, as well as for the community safety partnership as evidence of the moves the city is making to improve safety in the downtown. The mayor added he’s working with other stakeholders on a co-ordinated plan to address homelessness and addictions.
“I was really pleased to see the province of Manitoba come out with their homelessness strategy, which includes investment in addiction services as well, wraparound supports,” Gillingham said.
“I think collectively we have to address the matters… that are driving some of these violent acts.”
That $58-million provincial strategy was announced in late February. It includes plans to build 700 social housing units this year.
— with files from Joyanne Pursaga
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.
Updated on Monday, March 13, 2023 2:45 PM CDT: Updated headline
Updated on Monday, March 13, 2023 6:09 PM CDT: Updates image
Updated on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 3:05 PM CDT: Corrects sentencing for Jan 19 charges.