October 19, 2019

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One punch leads to manslaughter charge in neighbourhood dispute

It appears a long-simmering dispute between neighbours erupted into violence outside a Tyndall Park home Saturday when a shouting match in a back lane turned fatal, leaving one man dead and another in police custody.

The incident was a toxic mix of neighbourhood dispute and road rage, Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jay Murray said at a Monday news conference, characterizing it as one of the most “senseless” killings he’s seen.

The deceased has been identified as Calvin Chan, 66.

Police have charged Dennis Lloyd Jr. Penner, 24, with manslaughter. He’s been detained in custody.

It appears a long-simmering dispute between neighbours erupted into violence outside a Tyndall Park home Saturday when a shouting match in a back lane turned fatal, leaving one man dead and another in police custody.

The incident was a toxic mix of neighbourhood dispute and road rage, Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jay Murray said at a Monday news conference, characterizing it as one of the most "senseless" killings he’s seen.

The deceased has been identified as Calvin Chan, 66.

Police have charged Dennis Lloyd Jr. Penner, 24, with manslaughter. He’s been detained in custody.

The incident marks Winnipeg’s 15th homicide of 2019.

Terry Hlady is a neighbour to Calvin Chan that had many run-ins with the deceased, some so bad that she called the police after she felt threatened.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Terry Hlady is a neighbour to Calvin Chan that had many run-ins with the deceased, some so bad that she called the police after she felt threatened.

Investigators believe Chan was backing his fishing boat into his garage outside his home in the area of Burrows Avenue and Albina Way when Penner tried to pull his vehicle into the shared back lane. Unable to pass, Penner exited his vehicle and an argument broke out, police said.

Penner is accused of throwing a single punch that connected with Chan and resulted in the man falling and hitting his head on the pavement. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead several hours later.

The Free Press was told by two sources Monday a video of the dispute exists — filmed by the accused’s mother — and has been turned over to police.

The WPS would not confirm if it had possession of any such footage.

"While I can’t comment on specific evidence obtained in this case, detectives routinely seek and use video surveillance to assist with investigations," Murray said.

Chan had a decades-long history of conflict with neighbours, area residents told the Free Press — often stemming from disputes over parking.

Investigator with the Winnipeg Police Service outside the home of a witness to the fatal altercation which took place on Sunday afternoon.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Investigator with the Winnipeg Police Service outside the home of a witness to the fatal altercation which took place on Sunday afternoon.

In December 2015, the situation with Chan’s next-door neighbour reached a boiling point and she filed a police report against him. No charges were laid and the incident was resolved after officers were dispatched to mediate, police said.

Terry Hlady — whose home is sandwiched between the house Chan shared with his partner and the house Penner shares with his parents — claimed Chan repeatedly instigated disputes with herself, Penner, and other residents.

She filed the police report in 2015, fearing for her life, she said.

"I had to make a report because I thought, ‘What if something happens?’ He scared the hell out of me. This is the story that no one’s hearing. If he didn’t like you, he was coming at you," Hlady said Monday.

"I think it could have been anybody, because he was constantly doing this, constantly starting things. I’ve been afraid for my life."

On more than one occasion, Hlady said, Penner’s father had to mediate disputes between her and Chan.

Rudy Cabato, a neighbour of Calvin Chan's, in the back lane behind Burrows Ave at Albina Way.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Rudy Cabato, a neighbour of Calvin Chan's, in the back lane behind Burrows Ave at Albina Way.

"He’d come out and said, ‘Look, what are you guys yelling about? You’re going to have to go through me to get to her, so don’t even be touching her,’" Hlady said. "It’s been ongoing for years. This has literally been years in the making."

On Monday afternoon, homicide investigators could be seen canvassing the neighbourhood. In the back lane where Chan was struck, his partner gathered with area residents to discuss the incident.

As they stood over the spot where Chan fell to the ground, his daughter could be heard in the backyard, sobbing loudly. The family declined comment when approached by the Free Press.

Murray said the fact investigators charged Penner with manslaughter indicates they do not believe he intended the blow to be fatal.

Murray also said investigators uncovered evidence to support claims there was a "history between… the deceased victim and the suspect," that indicated they did not "like each other."

"You look at what the ramification of this are and they’re devastating consequences not only for the victim, the family, friends, people who were there," Murray said.

"A single punch can have devastating consequences… Now, you have a 24-year-old male who wasn’t previously known to police who faces the charge of manslaughter."

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
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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.

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Updated on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 9:15 AM CDT: Comments turned off.

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