Manitoba

Man accused of killing child allegedly robbed Liquor Mart hours before arrest

The man accused of killing three-year-old Hunter Straight-Smith was caught after a liquor theft was reported in Garden City, say police and a store owner who called 911 after the theft.

'He threatened to stab me in the heart,' says Rick Boily, owner of Pieces of Paradise

Dan Jensen, 33, was arrested on Wednesday near McPhillips Street and Leila Avenue and charged with attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of Hunter, who has since died. Hunter was stabbed in the neck early Wednesday and taken to hospital. (Dan Jensen/Facebook)

The man accused of killing three-year-old Hunter Straight-Smith was caught after a liquor theft was reported in Garden City, say police and a store owner who called 911 after the theft.

"I saw him coming out of the Liquor Mart with four bottles of vodka in his pockets," said Rick Boily, who didn't suspect the man walking towards him was wanted for more than stealing liquor.

"I just stood there looking at him and then he threatened to stab me in the heart."

Dan Jensen, 33, was arrested on Wednesday near McPhillips Street and Leila Avenue and charged with attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of Hunter, who has since died.

Hunter was stabbed in the neck early Wednesday and taken to hospital, where he was placed on life support and received blood transfusions. He died Saturday afternoon.

Winnipeg police confirmed that Jensen was inebriated when police arrested him and allegedly had just stolen from a Liquor Mart.

Boily owns Pieces of Paradise, a gift store near the Liquor Mart on Leila Avenue near McPhillips Street.

Jensen looked dishevelled and out of it when he walked out of the Liquor Mart, Boily said.

"He wasn't wearing a jacket. He had just sweats on, a T-shirt on, and he was inebriated…. His pants were falling down," Boily said.

Thieves usually bolt out of the Liquor Mart, but Jensen did not, Boily said.

"He wasn't trying to run."

Hunter Straight-Smith, 3, died on Saturday. (Submitted by family)

Boily kept tabs on Jensen as he walked away, telling 911 operators where he might be headed.

"He went near behind the Home Depot and just kind of put his bottles down and he opened the beer was drinking and had a couple of sips," said Boily. 

"He then started staggering toward McPhillips."

Jensen was arrested in the area and in addition to attempt to commit murder is charged with assault causing bodily harm, multiple failures to comply with a recognizance and theft under $5,000.

Boily didn't know who Jensen was when he phoned 911, but the threat and Jensen's behaviour made him feel this man could put the public at risk.

"I'm happy that I could help. I'm glad the guy is off the street," Boily said. "He just appeared violent."

Rick Boily, owner of Pieces of Paradise in Garden City, said he called police about Daniel Jensen a little while before he was arrested by police on Wednesday evening. (Ahmar Khan/CBC)

While homicides have risen in the city, liquor thefts also are up a staggering amount, and this incident captures what Winnipeg is becoming, Boily said.

"The violence in Winnipeg is going through the roof and the theft of the liquor store is becoming an epidemic." 

with files from Holly Caruk