Police hunt gunman in wedding pictures

Winnipeg police are poring over images from still cameras and video recorders that were used at a wedding reception where a woman was shot dead Saturday night.

Winnipeg police are poring over images from still cameras and video recorders that were used at a wedding reception where a woman was shot dead Saturday night.

Police were called to the Polish Combatants Association Club on Main Street at about 11:15 p.m. They were told a man had fired at guests after slipping in through the back door, which had been kept open to let in fresh air.

Cheryl Robert, 50, of Winnipeg was shot in the head and died in hospital, police said. Her husband, also 50, and a woman, 31, were treated in hospital for their wounds and released.

Const. Robert Carver said police are hoping valuable evidence was caught by a camera.

"Was there someone at the wedding that someone hadn't identified before? Was there someone that we knew that hadn't been brought forward? Was there an incident that had been captured that someone hadn't seen?" he said. "The slate's pretty open in terms of what we could be looking for."

Police said some people at the reception were known to have ties to a street gang. But officers have not said the shooting was gang-related.

The funeral for Robert, who leaves behind three children, a grandchild, and a partner, is being planned for Friday afternoon.

Her brother, Jim Stewart, described Robert as a loving mother and someone who always had a smile on her face. He said the family is upset, but is confident the police will make an arrest.

"They've had some good eyewitnesses that saw the shooter and they said they'd keep in touch and we'll deal with that," Stewart said. "I'm not going to worry about who did it and stuff. Hopefully they get them by the end of the week but until I bury my sister, that's what we're going to worry about first.

"If they catch him by then, good for the police. But we'll let the police do their work right.

"We're not an angry family that's gonna do anything but we hope justice is served in this. This is bad that someone is going … and doing something like this, randomly and taking potshots at people. It hurts, it devastates, it ruins all these lives."

Opposition pushes for crackdown on gangs

Meanwhile, Manitoba's opposition Progressive Conservative party is calling on the government to immediately unveil its strategy on gangs.

The governing NDP announced last week it intended to tackle criminal gangs in the same way it took on car thieves — by targeting the worst offenders with increased supervision. Attorney General Dave Chomiak said the government would constantly check up on offenders and be "in their face."

He said he hopes to have it operating by the fall. But justice critic Kelvin Goertzen said the NDP has been promising a new approach to gangs for months and nothing has materialized — other than more violence in the city.

"We've got these guns that are on the street. These individuals who are causing the violence are obviously getting the guns from somewhere," he said.

Chomiak said criticism of the government's approach to gangs is unfounded. Since the NDP took office nearly a decade ago, fighting gangs has been a top priority and the government has created a dedicated gang prosecutions unit and an integrated police task force to target gang violence.

Critics calling for gang members to be strapped with ankle bracelets to monitor their movements is not much of a solution to a tough problem, Chomiak said.

"That's just … not a very effective strategy," he said. "You're dealing with someone who's seriously involved in gang activity. You don't want an ankle bracelet on them. You want them in jail."