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This article was published 5/7/2011 (3200 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A loaded, sawed-off rifle was found lying in a residential Winnipeg neighbourhood after possibly being used in an ongoing biker war, the Free Press has learned.
Sources confirmed the weapon was discovered last Wednesday on Kingston Row by a woman who promptly turned it over to police. It is undergoing forensic testing as part of the ongoing probe into several recent shootings and firebombings in the city.
The revelation came on the same day a high-profile Rock Machine member was freed from jail.
Jean Paul Beaumont was granted bail on Tuesday with several conditions, including a cash surety and curfew. Provincial court Associate Chief Judge Mary Kate Harvie imposed a publication ban on the proceedings, including her reasons for the decision.
Beaumont, 38, is the sergeant-at-arms of the Rock Machine biker gang. He was arrested last week for allegedly breaching conditions of his previous bail and probation, including a curfew and driving prohibition.
Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said Tuesday the public needs to be aware of the gang conflict taking place in Winnipeg, including in quiet residential communities. But Michalyshen urged Winnipeggers not to develop a "paranoid, look over your shoulder" mentality, as police have made the conflict a top priority.
"We do, as a service, acknowledge there are conflicts or a conflict between two outlaw motorcycle gangs in the city of Winnipeg. We're aware of that. We're closely monitoring these situations and are concerned about these matters," said Michalyshen. "I can assure you, we're not taking this lightly. The last thing we want is for this to escalate further. These incidents are occurring in quiet communities."
The Hells Angels formed the Redlined Support Crew last year to stand up to other criminal networks that might muscle in on their former drug turf after many of their members were arrested and jailed following a trio of recent undercover police operations. At the top of that list was the Rock Machine, which waged war with the Hells Angels in Quebec during the 1990s but only recently has had much of a presence in Manitoba.
On June 27, a member of the Redlined gang had a "flare" shot through the window of his Elmwood-area home, according to a police source. The following night, two homes linked to members of the Rock Machine were shot up. On June 29, Rock Machine president Joseph Strachan had the St. Vital home he shares with his parents hit by gunfire and Molotov cocktails.
Last November, Daniel Kachkan, a former high-ranking associate of the Hells Angels, was shot "execution-style" inside his own home.
No arrests have been made in the slaying, which was believed to have been connected to Kachkan's alleged role in a previous homicide.
However, police distributed an internal memo around the time of the killing, warning members of the Rock Machine motorcycle gang are believed to be armed and may be planning attacks against those affiliated with the Hells Angels.
Progressive Conservative justice critic Kelvin Goertzen said Tuesday the latest wave of violence is a sign the provincial NDP government is losing the battle with voters when it comes to fighting crime.
"We've seen the NDP announce 11 gang strategies in 11 years, but the gang problem has steadily grown under their watch," Goertzen said in a statement.
"The NDP have failed to provide the needed support to Winnipeg's gang unit or to monitor known gang members, and we are seeing the results again this summer. Only a change in government will give Manitobans any hope that gangs and violent crime will be tackled."
-- with files from Bartley Kives
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.