12-year-old Winnipeg boy killed in Friday night stabbing, police say

A 12-year-old boy is dead after being stabbed following an altercation between two groups in Winnipeg's North End on Friday evening, police say.

No arrests made yet in case with 'exceptionally troubling' details, police spokesperson says

A sidewalk on Burrows Avenue was left covered with blood and blue chalk markings on Saturday morning after a 12-year-old boy was stabbed there Friday evening. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

A 12-year-old boy is dead after being stabbed following an altercation between two groups in a north Winnipeg neighbourhood on Friday evening, police say.

Officers found the boy injured on Burrows Avenue, near Main Street, around 7:19 p.m., Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson Const. Jay Murray said at a news conference on Saturday morning.

An off-duty nurse who Murray described as a Good Samaritan helped police care for the boy until an ambulance arrived. The 12-year-old was rushed to hospital, where he died.

Murray said he can't provide further details about who the boy was, but his family may decide to do that later on.

While no charges have been laid yet, the homicide unit worked through the night and made significant progress on its investigation into the boy's death, Murray said. 

Police don't believe the incident was gang-related and there are indications the groups may not have even known each other before their encounter, he said.

I struggle with finding the words to describe this homicide.... I think the community is going to be reeling.- Winnipeg Police Service Const. Jay Murray

"I think the public — friends, family — are going to be looking to understand why something like this would happen, especially to a 12-year-old," said Murray.

"A lot of people are going to be searching for answers. Our investigators are in the pursuit of those answers. They're in the pursuit of justice, and we feel confident we'll be able to provide that at some point."

Some of the details of the case are "exceptionally troubling," Murray said, though they may not be made public until charges are laid — or until the case makes its way through the court system.

Cases involving such young victims are rare and can be especially difficult for the first responders who deal with them, he said.

"I struggle with finding the words to describe this homicide.... It's extremely tough. A lot of the people that help in these cases are parents themselves. They can maybe [be] parents with children that age," Murray said.

"I think the community is going to be reeling. The family members, I can't imagine the pain they're experiencing. And our officers and our first responders [and] our medical professionals are also going to definitely feel some sorrow in this."

Quiet street shaken up

Michael Bucci, who lives on Burrows Avenue in the William Whyte neighbourhood, said he was watching a hockey game on TV on Friday evening when he heard an argument and some scuffling on the street outside his house.

It didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary, he said. It wasn't until his teenage son came running down the stairs that Bucci realized something was wrong.

"[He] said, 'Dad, Dad: somebody just got stabbed,'" Bucci said.

He immediately called 911. By the time his family got their shoes on and stepped outside, their street had already started to fill up with emergency crews trying to save the boy's life. The police service's tactical support team and canine unit were also there, said Bucci.

"They worked on him on the street for about eight to 10 minutes and [then] he was in the ambulance," he said.

Michael Bucci lives in a house on Burrows Avenue near where a 12-year-old boy was stabbed on Friday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The stabbing left a trail of blood along the quiet street, he said — and a sense of unease in the neighbourhood.

"Some kid got stabbed. I mean, it's pretty sad," Bucci said. "You can't just walk down the street and feel safe."

Jessica Guimond told CBC News she was devastated to learn the crime scene she drove past on Friday night was where a boy's life was snuffed out.

"It kind of broke my heart, really," she said. 

Murray said police don't believe there is any threat to the public as a result of the homicide.

The boy's death marks Winnipeg's 18th homicide of 2021. It's also the 11th since May 19 — a period of 31 days — he said.

Anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to call investigators at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 204-786-8477.

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With files from Walther Bernal