A man whose body was discovered in a Waverley West condo Monday night is the 40th victim of homicide in the city so far this year, the Winnipeg Police Service said.
The man, whose name and age haven’t been released, had suffered gunshot wounds when he was found by officers in a unit at 25 Tim Sale Drive at about midnight.
Const. Rob Carver said that until an autopsy or forensic analysis is complete, the police cannot definitively say whether he died from those wounds.
Neighbours of the condo building told the Free Press they heard gunfire earlier in the night, at about 11 p.m. They said that the unit was often rented out online by its owner, and that it had become somewhat of a nuisance recently. Carver said that the victim did not live in the building, and sources confirmed to the Free Press that the unit was being used as a rental.
Throughout the night and into the afternoon, several police cars were on the scene, and sections of the building remained taped off, one neighbour said.
Carver said that investigations are continuing, and that anyone with pertinent information is asked to call 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers. At a time when officers are working extended hours to keep up with increased demand on services, Carver said public assistance was especially valuable.
Over the past two weeks, there have been seven confirmed homicides in the city, and the death of three-year-old Hunter Straight-Smith, who was taken off life-support on Saturday after being stabbed in his sleep last week, is tentatively being treated as a homicide by police, pending an autopsy.
Daniel Jensen, 33, who allegedly attacked the child, has been charged with attempted murder. Those charges won't be updated until an autopsy has been completed and the exact cause of death has been determined, Carver said.
The Free Press reported Monday that shortly after Jensen allegedly fled the scene, he was spotted leaving a liquor store on Leila Avenue with stolen alcohol. Police confirmed Tuesday that Jensen had been charged with theft under $5,000 and uttering threats, in addition to his earlier charges.
Straight-Smith’s death led to multiple vigils, and has become a focal point over what has been an unprecedented spate of violence in the city: the last month has been deadlier with regard to the number of homicides than any other in Winnipeg in over 20 years.
Over the last 30 days, 11 homicides have been reported by police, requiring "herculean" efforts by officers in multiple departments, says Carver.
Meanwhile, police are also investigating the death of a man killed in a Halloween fire at a home at 506 Pritchard Ave. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and police have asked nearby residents and businesses to check their surveillance footage from between 9:30 and 11 p.m., on Oct. 31, advising them to let police know whether their cameras captured anything unusual or suspicious.
Carver said there isn't one unifying thread that ties the city’s 40 homicide victims—one shy of the all-time high, set in 2011—together. A combination of domestic violence, drugs, robberies gone wrong, and gang activity have all played a part.
The strain on police resources, as well as the city overall, has been "enormous," Carver said.
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.
Updated on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 2:55 PM CST: clarifies unit was an online rental