A Christmas Day slaying in the North End has raised Winnipeg’s 2019 homicide total to 43 — adding to the grim number making this year the deadliest on record.
"It’s been a terrible year for the city. The nature of homicides is they’re random. Are there underlying themes occasionally? Guns, drugs, gangs — of course," Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Rob Carver said Friday.
Posted: 27/06/2019 12:46 PM
"It’s another homicide. The date behind it is irrelevant in terms of investigators, in terms of the fallout for the family. They’re all tragic."
While many Winnipeggers were opening presents Christmas morning, general patrol officers were desperately trying to save the life of a critically-injured man found lying on the ground near the corner of Salter Street and Redwood Avenue.
The officers noticed the man while driving through the neighbourhood around 10:20 a.m. After determining he’d been assaulted, they applied emergency first aid until paramedics arrived to transport him to hospital.
Gordon Edward Pashe, 37 — a man with a lengthy criminal record, including multiple convictions for drug, weapon and property offences — was later pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been revealed.
On Friday afternoon, what appeared to be blood splatter could still be seen stained into snow on the sidewalk near the intersection.
Shortly after Pashe was found, police responded to reports of a man armed with a gun at 376 Redwood Ave., roughly a half-block down the road.
An armoured vehicle and tactical support officers were dispatched to the scene, leading to a standoff that lasted roughly two hours. Four people were arrested, and later released without charges.
"We did not locate an armed individual. We had four people taken out of the residence, but no charges were laid," Carver said.
On Friday, a Free Press reporter saw one of the four people who’d been arrested Christmas Day being driven away from the scene in the back of an unmarked WPS cruiser driven by plainclothes detectives.
Two area residents who spoke to the Free Press said the building seemed to be operating as a rooming house. They said they’d previously seen paramedics called to the residence, but not police.
Carver declined comment when asked if Pashe lived at 376 Redwood Ave. He said investigators suspect the two incidents are linked.
“It’s been a terrible year for the city. The nature of homicides is they’re random. Are there underlying themes occasionally? Guns, drugs, gangs ‐ of course,” – Const. Rob Carver
"We think they’re potentially related, but I can’t give you more details until we get closer to an arrest, and we’re not at that point yet," Carver said.
"I think investigators have moved forward to a point where they’re looking at some individuals specifically... All of the people involved, both in terms of our victim here, as well as the people we dealt with at the house, were known to police."
Carver added both incidents appear to have connections to street gang activity.
Pashe was released from custody last month, after serving 48 days for a liquor store theft. In February 2018, he was sentenced to 20 months in jail after police arrested him in March 2017 in possession of machete and a sawed-off shotgun.
Court transcripts reveal Pashe had a six-year break in his criminal record prior to the 2017 arrest, and had applied for a pardon so he could pursue a career as a corrections officer.
The killing of Pashe marks the second consecutive year Winnipeg has recorded a homicide on Christmas Day.
Tyler Evan Smoke was found injured in a back lane between Victor Street and Toronto Street on Dec. 25, 2018. He was taken to hospital in critical condition, where he was pronounced dead. Police later charged three men for his death.
The previous single-year record (41) for homicides in Winnipeg was set in 2011.
Given the level of violence seen on the streets of Winnipeg in 2019, Carver said he was unsurprised the grim marker was eclipsed.
"The way the numbers have been unfolding, not being able to go a month without a homicide, I guess it didn’t come as a surprise to me or the rest of the service. In terms of Winnipeggers themselves, I think we’re all shocked — 43 is a record for this city, a record no one wants to have," Carver said.
"It’s terrible. I think there is some sense, and I don’t know why, maybe because we grew up in the West, but I think there is some shock that it happens on Dec. 25, when really, from a crime standpoint, it’s just another date."
— with files from Dean Pritchard
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.