The discovery of a man’s body in a north Winnipeg neighbourhood garbage bin is being investigated as the city's ninth homicide of the year.
Police were going to notify the man’s family Thursday afternoon, and weren’t publicly releasing his name or age. The only details Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Rob Carver would reveal during a news conference were that the man was between 20 and 40 years old, and did not appear to have been in the bin for very long.
A homeowner on the 200 block of Landsdowne Avenue found the body in a City of Winnipeg bin and called police around 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.
"The homeowner did discover it and immediately called police, so I believe that homeowner is quite traumatized, as I imagine anyone would be, opening up a trash bin and finding there's a deceased inside," Carver said.
Police were still on scene investigating Thursday, and are asking neighbourhood residents to check security camera footage and report any unusual activity in the area recently, no matter how minor, Carver said.
Meanwhile, the way city police handle calls has changed, as investigations and enforcement must be balanced with health precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Carver acknowledged.
Dispatchers are asking for virus-related information from 911 callers, including recent travel history, medical information and whether anyone is quarantined or showing symptoms.
Police still have to respond to urgent calls where someone is or may be sick, and officers have access to personal health protection measures, Carver said. Meanwhile, officers are trying to stay the directed two metres away from people if possible when canvassing neighbourhoods or taking witness statements.
"We are practising all of the things that are being recommended in an attempt to assist in flattening this (COVID-19 case number) curve. (Hand) sanitizer is readily available to our officers; masks are available — they're not always conducive to getting on before you're rushing to a priority one call," Carver said.
"Officers are practising as much as possible physical distancing, but again, arresting somebody is a hands-on activity. We try to do it, but we can't always."
When asked how many city police officers are currently in isolation due to recent travel or contact with an ill person, Carver told reporters Thursday he wouldn't release those details.
The force has adequate resources to continue policing the city, and has contingency plans in place, he said.
"I'm not going to release numbers. I don't think it's appropriate from a security standpoint," he said.
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.
Updated on Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 7:38 PM CDT: clarifies being in north Winnipeg