Manitoba

Police seize high-powered guns, military-grade bullets capable of piercing officers' vests

The arrest of a man wanted in connection with a gang-related shooting at a Winnipeg nightclub led police to a cache of high-powered guns and ammunition, they say.

Man, 24, arrested in connection with shooting at Citizen Nightclub on Nov. 2

Police display a collection of the guns they seized from a south Winnipeg home. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

The arrest of a man wanted in connection with a gang-related shooting at a Winnipeg nightclub led police to a cache of high-powered guns and ammunition, they say.

"Alarming to me is the fact of the sheer firepower of these weapons. This kind of firepower is extraordinary," police Chief Danny Smyth said at a news conference on Tuesday, where the weapons were put on display.

Among the guns was a box of .50-calibre bullets — each one about the length of an adult's hand.

"Our regular protective vests wouldn't be able to stop this," Smyth said.

Police were tipped that Rami Hagos, a 24-year-old man wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for his alleged involvement in a shooting at Citizen Nightclub on Nov. 2, was attending the funeral of Jamshaid Wahabi, said Insp. Max Waddell, head of the police service's guns and gangs unit.

Wahabi, 23, died after being shot at a bar in the city's Exchange District.

A case of .50-calibre bullets, seized from a home on Marine Drive, is also displayed by police. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

After the funeral, police stopped the vehicle that Hagos was in and took him into custody. They also found a .50-calibre semi-automatic handgun in his possession.

The gun was registered and traced back to a house on Marine Drive, in the city's Normand Park area.

Using a search warrant, police seized 22 firearms from the home, including four .50-calibre semi-automatic handguns.

The owner, who legally purchased and registered the guns, had a list of the weapons and one was missing — the one found with Hagos, police said.

The 40-year-old man who owned the gun collection is charged with numerous firearms offences, police said.

A legal gun owner is responsible at all times for knowing the whereabouts of all the firearms, Waddell said.

"The accused in this matter was not aware that that firearm was not in his possession … and therefore is charged with trafficking," he said, adding the .50-calibre ammunition is frightening.

"This is military-grade ammunition. It's very dangerous, so the concern is grave, for sure," he said.

Insp. Max Waddell holds up a .50-calibre bullet (Jaison Empson/CBC)

"These individuals that are in possession of these firearms, they don't often comply with the law, and it's our duty as police to bring these people to justice. We could be in a confrontation with them and we'd be faced with this type of firepower."

Waddell does not know whether the man with the gun collection and Hagos know one another. He could not say how Hagos obtained the weapon.

The seizure of the 22 guns comes less than a month after police found 73 firearms, including machine-guns, at another home in the city.

"These are not regular long guns or handguns. This is a whole other level we're seeing," Waddell said.

now