Winnipeg police are investigating the city’s 31st homicide of the year, revealing an injured man who was found on Main Street Wednesday had been assaulted and then struck by a vehicle in quick succession.
The victim has been identified as 40-year-old Neilson Catcheway of Winnipeg.
It remains unclear if the assault or the hit-and-run was the cause of death. As a result, Winnipeg Police Service homicide unit investigators are trying to untangle two crimes.
No suspects are in custody and the investigation is ongoing, officials said.
"The individual, the deceased, was assaulted, and then as a separate, unrelated incident, he was struck by a northbound vehicle. I can’t tell you what the mechanism of death was," WPS spokesman Const. Rob Carver told reporters Thursday.
Police were called to Main Street between Higgins and Sutherland avenues early Wednesday, after receiving reports of a man lying in the road. Winnipeg Transit bus operators assisted by blocking a lane of traffic until officers arrived.
Officers conducted CPR on the unresponsive man until paramedics arrived. The man was taken to hospital in critical condition and later pronounced dead.
Investigators are calling upon the driver of the vehicle that struck the man to come forward to police. It is likely the driver will face criminal charges in connection with the incident, since they fled the scene.
"We’re asking for that individual to come forward, but my understanding is we’re going to have that vehicle identified shortly anyway. It would just be simpler if the driver came forward now," Carver said.
"They can either come forward or we can track them down."
As investigators canvassed for clues Wednesday, the aftermath of the fatal incident was in full view. Blood stained the roadway next to a discarded shoe, plastic bags, and some personal items, while police evidence tags could be seen scattered about.
There are a number of cameras — public and private — stationed throughout the area police have relied upon in the past, Carver said. He also said police are currently holding back information related to the suspect vehicle to protect the integrity of the investigation.
"There are cameras in various locations in that area, both City of Winnipeg cameras and a number of cameras we’ve accessed in the past in investigations. So that information from the cameras will be part and parcel of this," Carver said.
The area was the scene of another high-profile hit-and-run on Oct. 10, 2017, when 23-year-old Cody Severight was killed after being struck by a vehicle while crossing Main Street near the Sutherland Hotel.
Justin Holz, an off-duty Winnipeg police officer, was later charged with several offences, including impaired driving causing death, failing to stop at the scene of a fatal accident, dangerous driving causing death, and driving with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit.
Meanwhile, Carver said investigators believe there was a short time period between the initial assault and the victim being hit by the car Wednesday morning. He said police hope to release additional information in the near future.
Anyone with information related to the case is asked to contact investigators at 204-986-6508.
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.
Updated on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 4:04 PM CDT: Fixes typo
5:04 PM: updates story