Five Winnipeggers face numerous weapons charges after police seized sawed-off rifles, a machete and bear spray from a minivan full of people yesterday.

Police were first called to Sherbrook Street and Ross Avenue at around 12:45 a.m. Saturday on reports that a shot had been fired.

Officers saw a Dodge Caravan speeding away and caught up with the vehicle near Isabel Street and Logan Avenue. Nine people inside the minivan were taken into custody.

Police say they found the following items inside the van:

  • A loaded .303-calibre sawed-off rifle.
  • A .22-calibre sawed-off rifle.
  • Two cans of bear spray.
  • A machete.

Const. Eric Hofley says investigators learned that the suspects had earlier been involved in a fight with a group of people they didn't know.

As an act of retaliation, one of the suspects fired one of the firearms near Alexander Avenue and Sherbrook Street, according to police. No injuries were reported.

"Certainly the majority of the people arrested have some sort of gang ties. Whether this incident itself was gang-related is not known," Hofley said Sunday.

Two 18-year-old men and a 25-year-old man have been charged with numerous weapons offences, as well as two boys aged 16 and 17. They are all in custody.

The four other people in the van were released without charge, say police.