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This article was published 1/11/2010 (3567 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former Hells Angels associate was shot dead inside his own home in what is believed to be a revenge attack connected with a previous Winnipeg homicide, the Free Press has learned.
"This was a hit," a justice source familiar with the circumstances of the case told the Free Press late Monday.
The body of Daniel Benjamin Kachkan was found in his residence at 99 Barber St. just after 3 p.m. by his distraught ex-wife, Paddy, who was consoled by other family members who rushed to the home in Point Douglas. Sources say he was likely killed overnight.
Kachkan, 34, used to be a high-ranking member of the Zig Zag Crew, the so-called puppet club of the Hells Angels. He made headlines in 2005 when he was charged with killing fellow Zig Zag member Aaron Hannibal outside an Elmwood 7-Eleven store in broad daylight in what was deemed a violent internal gang dispute.
However, a jury found Kachkan not guilty in 2007 after the Crown had serious problems proving its case. Despite the fact more than a dozen people apparently saw Hannibal get stabbed, none was able to identify Kachkan as the culprit. Many others stayed silent or refused to testify and co-operate with police.
"This was definitely payback," the source said. Unlike Hannibal's death, Kachkan was killed in the privacy of his own home.
"There were no witnesses," the source said.
The Crown admitted its case against Kachkan was circumstantial since there was no direct physical or forensic evidence linking him to the slaying.
"Some people may say that because of his lifestyle, he was asking for it. But the person who killed him didn't commit any less of a murder because of his character," prosecutor Gerry Bowering said in his closing arguments to the jury. "This was an execution."
Hannibal, 31, suffered 19 separate wounds to his upper body, including three that pierced his heart and caused him to bleed out in the store's parking lot at Talbot Avenue and Watt Street. He collapsed, as 15 people surrounded him. Police were never able to find the murder weapon or Kachkan's vehicle, which went missing after the slaying.
Sources say Kachkan's stock continued to rise in the Zig Zag Crew following his acquittal, and he was briefly promoted to president. But his time at the top didn't last long.
"He wasn't a good leader, and he was eventually kicked out. He was pulling patches from members instead of expanding the Zig Zag Crew like the Hells Angels wanted," a source said.
On Monday, some neighbourhood residents feared this latest homicide could be connected with the triple shooting on Oct. 23, which left two people dead and another critically wounded in the nearby North End.
However, sources told the Free Press there is no link. Winnipeg police issued a statement late Monday confirming the investigation is ongoing.
Police removed two guard dogs from the home late Monday afternoon, neighbours said.
Point Douglas anti-crime activist Sel Burrows said the shooting death is both puzzling and disturbing because the victim's house had not been identified as a problem.
"Everybody in the community is pretty upset but we will carry on," Burrows said. Efforts by Burrows and his community to clean up crack houses and root out crime have drawn national attention and the support of Michaëlle Jean who praised school children during a visit before stepping down as governor general earlier this year.
The majority of Hells Angels and Zig Zag Crew members ended up behind bars after a series of recent police stings.
The most recent bust last December, in which 35 arrests were made, led to the formation of two new gangs that are trying to fill the void.
Police anticipated an increase in gang violence in court documents, citing a toxic environment on the streets.
"Tensions are extremely high... violence is imminent," a veteran police officer wrote in a February affidavit.
Police said the Hells Angels had created the Redlined Support Crew earlier this year to stand up to other criminal networks that might muscle in on their former drug turf. At the top of that list was the Rock Machine, which waged war with the Hells Angels in Quebec during the 1990s but has never had much of a presence in Manitoba -- until now.
Police said the Redlined Crew made their first big impression in mid-January when they allegedly attacked a member of the Rock Machine.
The victim required emergency surgery. He has not been co-operative with police and so far no charges have been laid.
Multiple sources have told the Free Press the Rock Machine have been slowly gaining power in the province, with some former Hells Angels associates even joining their ranks in recent months.
-- with files from Alexandra Paul
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.
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