'It's just wrong,' says Winnipeg mother who lost son to gun violence

Gina Settee says she is horrified that her son Bryer Prysiazniuk-Settee and 29-year-old Jeanenne Fontaine were both shot to death within a month of each other, and in a one-block span of Aberdeen Avenue.

After 2 months, Gina Settee still has no idea why her son was shot or who killed him

Gina Settee says she thinks every day about why her son was killed and who took his life. (Lyza Sale/ CBC)

A Winnipeg mother says two months after she lost her son to gun violence, she still has no idea who killed him and why.

"It's horrifying," said Gina Settee. "I think about it all day every day, wondering what happened."

Bryer Prysiazniuk-Settee was found laying in the snow on Aberdeen Avenue at 10 a.m. on Feb. 8. The 24-year-old had been shot.

Police have released very little information about Prysiazniuk-Settee's death and no arrests have been made.

Bryer Prysiazniuk-Settee was 24, and looking forward to a life in the trades, raising a family, his mother says, before he was fatally shot in February 2017. (Facebook)
His mother hopes by speaking out about her son's murder, she will inspire someone to go to police with information.

She also plans to put up posters with his photo, hoping that may jog someone's memory, or appeal to their conscience.

"I just can't believe that all these [houses] around me and not one person at 10:00 in the morning heard a gunshot," she said. "My son didn't deserve to die this way."

Settee said her son had spent the night of Feb. 7 at his girlfriend's place celebrating her birthday. She said he left the home at Mountain Avenue and Aikins Street around 9:00 the next morning, and within an hour, he was found shot outside of 484 Aberdeen.

She said she thinks he left on foot. There is a distance of about 10 blocks between the two locations.

"Bryer was a really lovable person, he loved to smile," she said. "He was a hard-working person. He just loved life lots."

More violence

There was another fatal shooting on Aberdeen, just a month after Prysiazniuk-Settee's death, when a 29-year-old woman was shot and killed and her home was set on fire.

That woman was Jeanenne Fontaine — a cousin of Tina Fontaine, the 15-year-old girl whose body was pulled from the Red River in 2014.

"I was really scared. I didn't know what to think," said Settee. "It's just wrong, people dying every day at the hands of somebody else … it needs to stop."

Jeanenne Fontaine's case also remains unsolved.
Gina Settee stands with members of the Bear Clan Patrol at the location where her son was found. (Lyza Sale/ CBC)

The two violent deaths are not sitting well with Settee or the community. The Bear Clan has expanded its patrol into the North End neighbourhood where Prysiazniuk-Settee and Fontaine died.

"As a result of this violence and the community's request for us to be present … we are doing that now," said James Favel, who is with the community patrol group.

The volunteer group stood by Settee after her son was killed by attending a vigil and sacred fire. Now they will help her put up posters of her son.

"We want to make sure that everybody is paying attention that something tragic happened here," said Favel. "Things are happening down the street, too. We want to see that everybody is paying attention."

There have been nine homicides in Winnipeg this year. 

A Winnipeg mother says two months after she lost her son to gun violence, she still has no idea who killed him and why. Bryer Prysiazniuk-Settee was found shot and laying in the snow on Aberdeen Avenue. Police have released very little information about his death and no arrests have been made. 1:42

About the Author

Jillian Taylor

CBC Reporter

Jillian Taylor has been with CBC Manitoba since 2012 and has been reporting for a decade. She was born and raised in Manitoba and is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. In 2014, she was awarded the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's travel bursary, which took her to Australia to work with Indigenous journalists. Find her on Twitter: @JillianLTaylor