November 12, 2018

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Nine standoff cops on leave

Officers get help after shots exchanged with teenage male

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>More than 100 officers were at the Bannerman Avenue standoff Wednesday. So far, 50 officers have received support from the WPS behavioural health unit.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

More than 100 officers were at the Bannerman Avenue standoff Wednesday. So far, 50 officers have received support from the WPS behavioural health unit.

A 16-year-old male is in custody following Wednesday’s hours-long armed standoff with police in which multiple shots were fired at officers from inside a house on Bannerman Avenue near Salter Street.

At a news conference on Thursday, Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth said a rifle was allegedly used by the suspect and only one officer had returned fire at the incident.

Smyth said the boy was taken into custody uninjured, but went to hospital as a precautionary measure due to possible effects of the gas thrown into house to force him out.

“Multiple shots were fired at our officers and into the immediate neighbourhood,” Smyth said.

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A 16-year-old male is in custody following Wednesday’s hours-long armed standoff with police in which multiple shots were fired at officers from inside a house on Bannerman Avenue near Salter Street.

At a news conference on Thursday, Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth said a rifle was allegedly used by the suspect and only one officer had returned fire at the incident.

Smyth said the boy was taken into custody uninjured, but went to hospital as a precautionary measure due to possible effects of the gas thrown into house to force him out.

"Multiple shots were fired at our officers and into the immediate neighbourhood," Smyth said.

"If it wasn’t for the tactical deployment of the armoured vehicle and some of the tactics that were deployed, I don’t think this would have had a good outcome. Thankfully, this was a good outcome in terms of no one being physically injured."

He said the arrival of the police’s armoured response vehicle provided shelter for officers who were "in vulnerable positions" when the suspect began firing on police.

A photo of a bullet-riddled police car was shown at the news conference and Smyth said other cars in the immediate area were also shot at by the suspect.

Smyth said the incident affected residents of the area and police officers who responded to the call.

"Nobody heads to work in the morning, nobody heads to school in the morning, nobody heads anywhere expecting that they’ll be fired upon by an active shooter. It’s frightening and it’s traumatic for everyone involved in that, even for our members. Most cops won’t experience an event like this in their career."

He said about 100 officers were involved in resolving the standoff and nine officers were on administrative leave to recover from the event and will be assessed by the WPS psychologist before they return to work.

"Approximately 50 of the officers involved in this event were interviewed and supported by our behavioural health unit," Smyth said.

"Events like this put tremendous strain on our front-line officers. In the last few weeks alone, officers have attended to a number of incidents and engaged with armed and barricaded individuals, often under the influence of drugs like meth."

It was the third armed-and-barricaded situation in the past six days, which Smyth said was an "unprecedented" number for WPS in such a short span. Another incident took place Wednesday morning when a business in the 500 block of Young Street was robbed and workers were held hostage. On Nov. 2, there was a 12-hour standoff in the 100 block of Chudley Street after a woman was shot in the face through a door in a building in the 400 block of Flora Avenue.

On Oct. 25, there was an armed standoff at the Bottle Stop store on Plaza Drive in Fort Garry.

Smyth said gun violence and illegal drugs were deemed to be present in all of the standoffs.

He said investigators were still working at the Bannerman scene Thursday night and will "get this neighbourhood back to normal" as soon as possible.

Multiple criminal charges are expected to be announced.

The teenaged suspect is also alleged to be the person who fired shots into a residence in the 300 block of Aikins Street, near Mountain Avenue, around 6 a.m. Wednesday.

"The K9 actually tracked from that location back to the 300 block of Bannerman. At about 6:40 a.m., units were dispatched to Bannerman where an investigation commenced," Smyth said, adding that five people were taken into custody but were later released.

General patrol and cadets had established a perimeter around the house in the 300 block of Bannerman when just before 1 p.m., "a male appeared at the Bannerman residence" and started shooting at officers from different places inside the house.

Smyth said details about how the individual got through the perimeter and into the house is part of the investigation.

Const. Tammy Skrabek said there was a shooting in the area of Bannerman Avenue and Salter Street the night before Wednesday’s standoff.

A 23-year-old man was walking in the area when he got into an argument with an unidentified male and a female.

As the victim walked away, he was shot in the upper body and the two suspects ran off.

Police and emergency services found him around 6:20 p.m. and he was taken to hospital in critical condition.

Though the Tuesday night shooting and Wednesday’s standoff happened in the same area, Skrabek said it’s not clear if the two incidents are related.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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