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A teen boy is facing numerous charges — including first-degree murder — following a violent 24 hours in Winnipeg in which four people were shot.
Winnipeg police arrested a 14-year-old in North Kildonan Thursday afternoon in connection with a series of shootings that happened in the early morning hours on Wednesday and Thursday in west central Winnipeg.
Police spokesman Const. Jay Murray said the alleged actions of the teen will likely be concerning for many Winnipeggers, and come as a shock to the community. The boy cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
"I think these shootings are everyone’s worst fear," Murray said. "These are individuals who were shot by what we believe is somebody who is unknown to them."
Winnipeg police say the string of shootings started around 2:30 a.m. on the holiday Wednesday.
An injured 44-year-old man was found on Balmoral Street near Cumberland Avenue, after being hit by a vehicle. He was taken to hospital in critical but stable condition — and police later learned he had been shot prior to the collision.
Murray said it is still unclear Friday exactly which part of the city the man was in when he was shot.
About 45 minutes later, two people were shot while walking in the 400 block of Flora Avenue, about two kilometres north of where the first victim was found.
Danielle Dawn Cote, 27, died from her injuries. An 18-year-old man, who police say is Cote's cousin, was able to get to a nearby convenience store on Salter Avenue to call for help and was taken to hospital. He remains in stable condition.
Police said a previously unreported shooting occurred in between those two incidents. An unidentified man and woman were shot at on the 100 block of Isabel Street between 2:30 a.m. and 3:15 a.m., and left the area on foot.
Police believe the woman was targeted and are asking for witnesses to come forward with information that could help investigators.
On July 2, city police were called to The Forks around 12:30 a.m., after one man was stabbed and another shot near the illuminated Winnipeg sign next to the CN Stage. The victims were able to seek help at the Forks market, and the shooting victim, a 40-year-old man, was taken to hospital in stable condition.
Murray said few details were available to share publicly on Friday and police weren’t prepared to speak to a motive.
However, police do not believe the 14-year-old boy knew the victims, nor did the victims from each incident know one another.
University of Manitoba sociology and criminology professor Frank Cormier said details of the shootings as described by police are highly unusual.
Statistics show at least 80 per cent of homicide and violent crime victims will know the perpetrator, Cormier said, and less than one in 10 homicides are committed by youth.
"That makes it unusual right off the top. It’s very rare that it’s a complete stranger that’s involved," Cormier said. "Now the fact that there were so many, just sounds bizarre. It’s highly unusual for a 14-year-old to go on a spree.
"The planning that's required for first degree murder is again much less likely for a youth," he said.
Police declined to provide details of the moments leading up to the shootings, but a gun thought to be used in the assaults was recovered.
"We felt it was important to acknowledge the arrest of an individual for very serious charges. We’re very limited in what we can provide today," Murray said.
"We’re holding back some evidence right now," Murray said. "It’s a possibility that there’s other incidents we don’t know about. There’s a possibility that other charges could be coming to this person or others."
Police have charged the teen with first-degree murder, two attempted-murder charges, two counts of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, and three counts of discharging a firearm with intent.
He is also facing charges of possession of a firearm contrary to a prohibition order, and failure to comply with a sentence.
The 14-year-old had his first appearance in front of a judge at the Manitoba Youth Centre Friday afternoon. He appeared via video from Winnipeg Police Service cells, where he was being held.
Personal details about the teen are protected under a publication ban. He had his charges read to him during the brief court appearance, and the Crown gave notice that prosecutors will be seeking an adult sentence based on the seriousness of the charges.
He was also told that his charges may be upgraded, and was ordered not to have contact with any of the victims or their families. His case was adjourned to Monday, July 6.
— with files from Katie May
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
Updated on Friday, July 3, 2020 at 6:50 PM CDT: Updates story to final version, adds file photos.
7:01 PM: Adds timeline/map
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