'I was terrified': Father home with 5 kids when men fleeing police barge in

A Winnipeg father was at home with his five kids on Saturday morning when two men fleeing from police barged in.

Winnipeg house becomes scene of 9-hour standoff ending in arrest of 2 men

Craig Fontaine was at home with his five children on Saturday when he noticed an intruder. He thought the ordeal was over when he forced him outside into the waiting arms of police, but then he discovered another man hiding in his basement. (Travis Golby/CBC)

A man whose home became the focus of a nine-hour standoff with Winnipeg police had just finished breakfast with his five children when two men barged into his home.

Craig Fontaine said when he heard loud bangs on Saturday morning, his first thought was to check his front door.

There was no one there, but he realized someone had broken into his home through his back window.

Then he spotted the first of two men who had invaded his home.

Winnipeg police arrived in the Burrows neighbourhood around noon on Saturday. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

"I'm like, 'What the hell!' So I chase this guy," Fontaine said.

He said he forced the man out of his house and into the custody of Winnipeg police tactical officers who were waiting outside his Magnus Avenue home with guns drawn. A 22-year-old man was arrested.

Fontaine said he thought the incident was over, but as he started to do laundry he heard a noise in his basement.

'I was terrified'

"I hear this, and now I'm concerned, so I yell and say 'Yo, if you're downstairs, get the hell out of my house!'"

Downstairs he found a second man, 33, hiding under a pile of clothes, refusing to leave.

"I was terrified," Fontaine said.

Fontaine said the man tried to bribe him with cash to let him stay, but Fontaine called police instead and left with his children.

Fontaine found this aerosol grenade left by tactical police while talking to a CBC reporter Sunday night. The grenade causes an intense burning sensation, forcing suspects out of a closed space. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Nine hours would pass before Fontaine and his family could return. 

Fontaine said he recognized the man — he had tried to sell him a gold watch a couple of months earlier — but he doesn't understand why the man chose his house to hide in.

Police said Saturday's ordeal started when they were executing a search warrant in the 500 block of Sherbrook Street. That's when they spotted a suspect in a truck, who fled the area, hitting a cyclist.

A man whose home became the focus of a nine-hour standoff with Winnipeg police had just finished breakfast with his five children when two men barged into his home 1:48

Vapour grenade left near kid's bike

The suspect then rammed into a taxi and kept driving before ditching the vehicle and running into Fontaine's house, police said.

Two men are in custody and face a number of charges, while Fontaine is left cleaning up the mess left from the siege of his home.

Shards of glass litter his front yard, his front door is broken, parts from a Taser wire remain in his basement, smoke bombs left piles of dust inside, which have triggered coughing and sneezing and made it difficult to breathe, he said.

The aerosol grenade was just a metre away from a child's bike, part of the mess left behind after Saturday's standoff. (Travis Golby/CBC)

While Fontaine was showing CBC News the damage Sunday night he found a vapour grenade not far from his daughter's bike.

"That's crazy," he said.

While the damage to his home has left him upset, he's happy his children weren't hurt.

"The fact of the matter is we're back in the home," he said, "and this is just something that's replaceable."

About the Author

Austin Grabish


​Austin Grabish is a reporter for CBC News in Winnipeg​ where he files for TV, web and radio. ​​Born and raised in Manitoba, Austin has had an itch for news since he was young. He landed his first byline when he was just 18. Before joining CBC, he reported for several outlets with work running across the country. He studied human rights in university and holds both a degree and diploma in communications.​ Connect with him here: austin.grabish@cbc.ca