Family members of a Winnipeg man who died during an armed standoff with police this week are heartbroken by his death and angry at police for not giving them an opportunity to help him.

Andrew Baryluk

Andrew Baryluk barricaded himself inside his home on Stella Avenue and was found dead inside after a 17-hour standoff with police. (Courtesy Colleen Baryluk)

They described 52-year-old Andrew Baryluk  as a wonderful man who was kind and gentle. They say he had a heart of gold and enjoyed the simple things in life, like feeding the birds and stray cats that came into his yard.

"He had a wonderful sense of humour, he loved kids and made friends easily. People really loved and valued his company," read a statement from his sister-in-law Colleen Baryluk and brother Bill Baryluk.

"He was not a violent man. He made his own beer and had become an amazing cook after caring for his mother with Alzheimer's for many years 'til she passed away."

They want people to know what kind of a man he truly was, rather than the picture people might have because of the way he died.

Andrew Baryluk had barricaded himself inside his home on Stella Avenue on Wednesday morning. Seventeen hours later, after a standoff with police, he was found dead inside.

Police say shots were fired within the home, and officers also discharged their weapons. However, the cause of Baryluk's death has not been released.

Police standoff

The standoff began in the 500 block of Stella Avenue at around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, when police received reports of a potentially threatening man inside a home. (Shaun Nodrick)

Colleen Baryluk said family members are infuriated with police, who they say never gave them a chance to save Baryluk.

"He was still alive and in the house at the time the police phoned us and they told us that there wasn't anybody allowed there and there was a standoff and Andy wasn't coming out of the house and … asking us if he had a gun or was he drunk and all this kind of crap," she told CBC News on Friday.

"I mean, why didn't they say, 'Can you get down here and maybe you can talk him out?' You know, like you have these standoff situations, they usually get a family member who tries to talk a family member out.

"[They] didn't even ask us. Told us to stay away." 

Matt Logan, a former RCMP officer and forensic psychologist, says it's not a good idea for family members of the person behind the barricades to intervene.

"We've unfortunately had incidents where families have been allowed on the line with the individual, and the individual has used it for an audience for suicide, so we're very cautious with that," he said.

Eviction notice

Both Bill and Colleen Baryluk said Andrew was desperate because he was being evicted from his home.

Baryluk had been ordered out by one of his brothers, John, according to a court document obtained by CBC News.

"A guy could only take so much. This was his home for all his life. He's being evicted, being thrown out onto the street," said Bill Baryluk.

Logan said eviction notices are high on the list of things that can trigger standoffs.

Tessa Blaikie of the Canadian Mental Health Association said the stress of losing one's home can trigger desperation.

"The trauma of losing your lifetime home — and not only that, but losing your lifetime home because of a dispute with family — could be very stressful for an individual and they might start to feel really helpless and hopeless," she said.

The provincial Residential Tenancies Commission granted the brother, who was the landlord, an order of possession and ordered Baryluk to vacate the house by the end of day July 6.

Neighbours have told CBC News that Baryluk did not want to leave the house, which was owned by their mother until she died in 2004.

The brother who owned the house sold it earlier this year, prompting the eviction order.

Colleen said she and Bill offered a basement space for Baryluk to stay with them, but he refused.

"He did not want to leave his house. That was everything to him," Colleen said.