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Friends mourn popular musician

No arrests in slaying on bridge

Memorials have been placed at the site where musician Joshua Bentley was found injured on the Osborne Bridge.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Memorials have been placed at the site where musician Joshua Bentley was found injured on the Osborne Bridge.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/1/2014 (2431 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

HE was 18 years old and the lead singer in local hardcore band Empty Hands. Tragically, he has become Winnipeg’s second homicide of 2014 after dying from injuries on the Osborne Bridge Friday night.

No one has been charged in the death of Joshua Jerome Bentley. Police have not released a cause of death and the investigation continues.

Joshua Jerome Bentley is Winnipeg's second second homicide victim of 2014.

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Joshua Jerome Bentley is Winnipeg's second second homicide victim of 2014.

Bentley’s death is Winnipeg’s second slaying of 2014. On Jan. 19, the body of Justin Desmarais, 24, was found in a suite in the 200 block of Andrews Street in the North End. Sources said he was stabbed. Police have made no arrests in that case.

Officers went to the Osborne Bridge about 11:30 p.m. Friday and found Bentley and another man had been injured. Both were transported to hospital in critical condition.

"He was extremely loved and cared for by everyone in this room," said Sabrina Schick, a friend of Bentley’s. "People gravitated towards him. He touched a lot of lives."

But the young man had the most impact when he was onstage.

"He was always happy at the shows. He would stand up onstage and zone into what he was doing," Schick said. "He was so passionate."

Bentley had just released a demo recording a few months ago and spent most of his time performing at shows downtown.

"Seeing him do what he loved, that’s where I’ll remember him most," Schick said. "He flew by the seat of his pants and music took over his life."

"He was so confident. He always knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be," said friend Joe Goethals, who played music with him and attended the same Bible study class as Bentley.

He said Bentley was leaving a party with one of his friends in an apartment in Evergreen Place, which faces the Osborne Bridge, to attend a social.

Bentley graduated last year from St. Norbert Collegiate, where he was known for his green hair and tattoo collection.

Grace Eidse, whose apartment overlooks the bridge, was watching a movie Friday night when she heard men’s shouts, followed by police and ambulance sirens.

"But I didn’t think anything of it," she said.

The next morning, when she saw police had taped off the area, she checked news reports that pointed to a suspected homicide and slipped down to place a candle and a butterfly poster near the scene. A bouquet of flowers soon appeared beside Eidse’s tokens of remembrance, and passersby scattered blooms at the site, some stopping to snap cellphone photos.

Kestin Wood saw the news about Bentley on Facebook Saturday, and that evening she went to work at the Shell gas station beside the Osborne Bridge.

"I started crying," she said. "Now I have to look at that bridge all night."

The two friends met in kindergarten and lived down the street from one another in St. Norbert, where Bentley still lived.

"Once we were wrestling beside this duck pond. He was laughing because his hair blended in with it and he had a green shirt on," she said. "He was like, ‘You can’t see me, you can’t see me.’ Then he rolled in some bird crap."

The friends would skateboard, play basketball and drink Slurpees together after school. "He’s always been one of my best friends," she said. "He was good kid."

Members of the Winnipeg Police Service homicide unit continue to investigate.

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