Minutes before he was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a three-year-old boy, Daniel Jensen was allegedly seen leaving a Winnipeg Liquor Mart laden down with booze and threatening to stab a neighbouring store owner.
Rick Boily, who owns Pieces of Paradise gift shop in Garden City Square on Leila Avenue, thought he was looking at just another bandit brazenly exiting the nearby Liquor Mart with his arms full of booze on the afternoon of Oct. 30.
"I see a lot of it," Boily said Monday. "I noticed someone coming out of the (Liquor Mart) with four bottles of vodka. As he passed me, he threatened to stab me in the heart.
"He had a bottle in each pocket and they were (weighing) his pants down. He was a sorry sight," Boily said, adding he was at no point scared the man would make good on his threat.
"He had his arms full. There was no way he was going to put his booze down."
Despite the cold, the man wasn't wearing a jacket, and he wasn't trying to maintain a low profile, either, said Boily, who watched as the man headed towards McPhillips Street, yelling at passersby and vehicles.
"I see a lot of it. I noticed someone coming out of the (Liquor Mart) with four bottles of vodka. As he passed me, he threatened to stab me in the heart." - Rick Boily, owner of Pieces of Paradise
"He was just staggering and cursing," said Boily, who called 911. "I stayed on the phone and told them where he was. Twenty minutes later, they showed up at the liquor (store) with the guy in the back seat."
Later, Boily saw a photo of online of the 33-year-old man accused of stabbing three-year-old Hunter Haze Straight-Smith in the early hours of Oct. 30.
Hunter was taken off life support, and died Saturday afternoon.
"I didn't know for sure it was him until the next day," Boily said Monday. "I had officers from major crimes here who confirmed it."
Winnipeg Police Service Const. Rob Carver wouldn't confirm or deny Boily's account of what led to the arrest of Jensen, nor would he comment on the alleged Liquor Mart theft.
Police reiterated an earlier statement about Jensen being taken into custody at 4:05 p.m. Wednesday by a patrol unit travelling in the area of McPhillips Street and Leila Avenue.
Jensen was wanted by police after emergency responders were called at 2:35 a.m. Wednesday to a home on the 300 block of Pritchard Avenue to tend to Hunter, who had been stabbed repeatedly in the neck. Hunter was taken to hospital in critical condition; family members said he'd required several blood transfusions and suffered extensive brain damage.
Police said the suspect wanted in connection with the attack on Hunter had been in the company of the child’s mother at an address on Main Street when she was assaulted. The suspect then allegedly went to the Pritchard Avenue home where Hunter was attacked.
Jensen was charged with attempted murder, assault causing bodily harm, six counts of failing to comply with a condition of recognizance, and failing to comply with a probation order.
In the wake of Hunter's death, Carver said Monday those charges have not yet been upgraded to manslaughter or murder.
Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.
Updated on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 6:44 AM CST: Corrects typo