Family fears for safety after brick hurled through window, narrowly missing baby
Sabrina Gandier says she's complained to her landlord about neighbour's threatening behaviour for weeks
A Winnipeg family is afraid to go back to their rented apartment after a brick was hurled through their window, striking a mother of three in the face and narrowly missing her infant daughter who was right next to her.
Sabrina Gandier and her husband awoke to loud noises around 1 a.m. CT Saturday. The noise was coming from the unit below her second level townhouse-style apartment in East Elmwood.
"Things were smashing, everybody was screaming. It woke up the baby so I brought her out [to the living room]," said Gandier.
"Next thing I know I hear loud footsteps of someone coming up the stairs and someone screaming 'no' and then a brick came flying [through the window] and hit me in the face," said Gandier.
Gandier has severe bruising to the right side of her face, as well as her right forearm. Her one-year-old daughter, who was laying right next to her at the time, was uninjured. Her husband was tending to another child.
Police were called but Gandier said she decided not to press charges because a family member witnessed the incident and assaulted the brick-thrower.
Gandier says the person who threw the brick lives below her and has had confrontations with the family before.
Both Gandier and the neighbour were taken away in ambulances that night she said. Police wouldn't comment on the incident because no charges were laid.
Gandier says she feels lucky the situation wasn't worse.
"Everyone, the paramedics, the police, the doctors, all said it was a good thing that I was the one who got hit because if my head wasn't there it would have hit the baby and she would be dead probably," she said.
Landlord did not intervene despite several threats, family says
Gandier said in the last month, her family's previously friendly relationship with the neighbour went sour. He became aggressive and made several threats toward her, she said.
The first incident began with a complaint about noise about Gandier vacuuming around 9 a.m. one morning she says, and eventually escalated to threats and racial slurs,and him showing up with a knife at her door, she alleges.
She says she complained to her landlord, Shelter Canadian Properties Limited, in a series of emails starting in mid-November and made two in-person visits to the on-site management office.
She informed the office of what was happening and asked if she could be transferred to another building managed by the same rental company.
Gandier said she received no response to any of her emails that detailed the threatening behaviour but does think the caretaker approached the neighbour about the complaint.
"After they found out they got a complaint against them, everything went crazy. Every time I left the house I noticed that somebody would be peeking through their blinds, staring at me," said Gandier.
Gandier said the behaviour escalated after that, including an incident where she says the neighbour followed her closely in a car in the parking lot while revving the engine.
"The following day we woke up to our tires slashed," she said, although Gandier admits she doesn't know who did it.
Gandier again emailed the rental company about what happened but received no response. When she went to the management office in person she was told they couldn't help her.
"The woman in the office just said, 'This is between you guys and the police. This has nothing to do with us. What do you want me to do? There's nothing I can do. This is not our problem,'" said Gandier of the exchange.
"That's when he started saying he was going to kick our teeth in because we were being too loud. I had to stop my husband from going down there because he was calling him a n----- and calling me a [racial slur]," she said.
Gandier said she believes he had a knife with him at the time.
Gandier went to the courts last week to file for a peace bond against her neighbour but doesn't have a court date to obtain the order until mid-December.
She says she's pleaded with the rental company several times to transfer her family to another apartment because she and her husband no longer feel safe living there with her three children.
It's such a bad situation all I wanted was to move, I just wanted them to help me get out of here, so this wouldn't happen.- Sabrina Gandier
"It's such a bad situation all I wanted was to move. I just wanted them to help me get out of here so this wouldn't happen," said Gandier.
In an emailed statement to CBC, Shelter Canadian Properties Limited said they are aware that "two neighbouring families, who previously seemed to enjoy a friendly relationship, became embroiled in a dispute over the last several weeks."
"This past weekend, the dispute escalated into violence, resulting in injuries to members of both families. We understand that the matter is under investigation by the police," they said.
"Early lease termination was offered to one of the residents in an effort to de-escalate the ongoing dispute. Shelter Canadian prioritizes the safety of its residents and extends its sympathies to the injured individuals," the company said.
Gandier said she received a call from the rental company about ending her lease after her interview with CBC.
Breaking lease not good enough, Gandier says
Gandier says being allowed out of the lease they entered this past June doesn't help her, because the family can't afford to move.
The mother of three said she was hoping the rental company would help the family change apartments within the company, and transfer their existing damage deposit.
"[I just want to] get away from here. I'd like to just get the transfer, I'd like the office to just listen to people's concerns," she said.
Gandier said the family has already started packing and have been staying with family because they don't feel safe.