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The scene of the shooting on Boyd Avenue, in the back alley, on Sunday. A man was shot in the upper body and died.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The scene of the shooting on Boyd Avenue, in the back alley, on Sunday. A man was shot in the upper body and died.

Some North End residents opened their doors only partway Sunday and delivered hurried witness reports in quiet whispers and anxious tones. Others said it wasn't worth their safety to say a single word.

Police issued a warning that a shooter was on the loose. But on the morning after the shootings, many people seemed to ignore it. Children played on the street without an adult in sight.

The impression people left no matter what they said or didn't say Sunday was: Violence is common here. Gangs operate out in the open. Survival hinges on keeping quiet and looking quiet.

"It's rough," said one man, pointing to a murder scene last year that was two doors down from the latest Dufferin Avenue homicide. "It seems to be a weekly event, something like this goes on," said the man before he shut his door.

At 261 Stella Walk, most residents, even the ones willing to admit they'd heard the shoots or witnessed the shooting, said they were afraid to be identified by name or face. They kept their doors partly closed and answered questions with visible reluctance.

"Anybody who opened the door, he would shoot them," one older woman on Stella Walk said, repeating stories that circulated Saturday night and early Sunday. Winnipeg police dismissed the report as unfounded Sunday, to the relief of residents.

Another said she was spooked by the calm manner of the gunman she saw trailing a group of teens before he fired into their midst and retrieved a bicycle he'd left nearby in no apparent hurry.

"I don't even want to sit outside to smoke," she said.

The reality of the North End is it is poor; many residents learn to live with violence because they can't afford to move elsewhere. No renters interviewed Sunday on Dufferin and Boyd planned to leave their residences. Rents are cheap, they said.

Homeowners said selling their houses isn't an option, either. "What are we going to do? I've been here 40 years. It wasn't this bad when we moved here but now it's crazy," one elderly man said. Minutes later, he ducked into his garage off Boyd Avenue when a news photographer raised his lens. "We keep to ourselves," another Boyd resident said.

Colleen Hobbs said she and her husband have lived in the same house in the 400 block of Boyd for 11 years.

They share a sense of security others might not enjoy: "I've got three vicious dogs. Nobody bothers me here," Hobbs said.

One of the three, a Rottweiler with a huge head, was seen charging the porch door, barking loudly until Hobbs manhandled him into the house and shut him inside.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca