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Rodney Hunt, chief of the Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc., says people are afraid of city police. Behind Hunt is petition supporter Annie Dufrane, president of the tenants' association at the Dakota Ojibway First Nations Housing Authority.

PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA

Rodney Hunt, chief of the Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc., says people are afraid of city police. Behind Hunt is petition supporter Annie Dufrane, president of the tenants' association at the Dakota Ojibway First Nations Housing Authority.

People who live in the North End are still scared to leave their houses and resume their normal lives more than a month after a triple shooting left two dead and one critically injured, a North End activist says.

Beyond being afraid of crime, people are frightened of city police, too, said Rodney Hunt, chief of the Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc., who makes his home on Boyd Avenue.

Sel Burrows likes idea of an aboriginal patrol in North End.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Sel Burrows likes idea of an aboriginal patrol in North End.

The random act of violence lasted 45 minutes on Oct. 23 and has exacted a toll of terror ever since, Hunt said.

"People are scared to go out because there's been no solution to it, and a lot of people are afraid of non-native police," Hunt said.

Three people were apparently targeted at random, two were killed and one, a 13-year-old girl, was critically injured by gunfire.

A cyclist with a shotgun was spotted at two of the three shooting scenes, on Dufferin Avenue and at Stella Walk, earning the shooter a graphic street handle: the Ninja Shooter.

Police officers hunt for a suspect on Oct. 23 following a shooting rampage that killed two.

SHAUN MCLEOD PHOTO

Police officers hunt for a suspect on Oct. 23 following a shooting rampage that killed two.

The third shooting took place on Boyd Avenue, not far from Hunt's home.

Mistrust of police officers is not uncommon in the North End, Hunt said.

He said he and about five other people are combing the North End and circulating a petition for a special aboriginal police unit.

They're finding neighbourhoods desperate for action but silenced by suspicion from talking to city police officers who've beefed up their presence since the shootings.

Frustration is almost palpable on some North End streets, he said.

Solving the shooting is proving elusive for authorities.

Police said this week there have been no arrests and no updates to report.

A month after the triple shooting, Hunt said he and about five friends from the area got together and decided to circulate a petition door to door.

The petition calls on the city to form a special aboriginal police beat to patrol the North End.

He believes North Enders will talk to aboriginal police.

"We were amazed. People overwhelmingly support it," Hunt said.

In the first 48 hours after they started circulating the petition, some 600 signed it, Hunt said. Since then, about 100 more have added their names.

"One place I went to, a low rental block, I knocked and asked people to sign the petition and there were people who came out of the other doors. They stood around and waited to sign it," Hunt said.

The low rental block was a provincial housing complex on Dufferin, a block or two away from the second fatal shooting a week before Halloween.

"People want that aboriginal police unit. It has to be a group from the area, who walk the beat and talk to people on a daily basis," Hunt said.

Hunt said he and his friends plan to keep circulating the petition over the winter and after six months on the streets, they'll collect the signatures and send them to the province's attorney general and to the new MP for Winnipeg North, Kevin Lamoureux.

"This way, we get to know people and it's like the community coming together," Hunt said.

Sel Burrows, a spokesman for the North Point Douglas Residents Association, said he thought the proposal was an "excellent idea."

"You can't make arrests if the community's not willing to help," he said. Prior to current Winnipeg police Chief Keith McCaskill, the "alienation of the aboriginal community and police had become horrendously bad," he said.

"In the last couple of years it has improved, but it still has a long way to go," he said.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Police responD

Police provided a prepared statement Friday and said they hadn't been aware of the petition.

"The service respects diversity in all aspects of policing both within our organization and in the community. Part of every officer's job is to develop relationships in whatever community they work in. Furthermore, these officers work in co-operation with individuals and community groups to come up with solutions to problems," said the statement on behalf of Winnipeg Police Service Superintendent Dave Thorne. "We share the desire to achieve neighbourhoods were families and individuals can feel safe. Limiting options for job opportunities within the service to any of our employees would be unfair and is not something that the service sees a benefit in doing."