Man shot at violent Winnipeg rooming house

A 27-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot at a notoriously violent rooming house in Winnipeg early Wednesday.

Two slain at same address in past 14 months

A 27-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot at a notoriously violent rooming house in Winnipeg early Wednesday morning.

A police cruiser and yellow tape mark the scene of Wednesday's shooting. ((Shaun McLeod))
The man, whose name was not released by police, was taken to hospital after being struck in the neck by a shotgun blast.

The man was hit while he was near the front door of the building in the 600 block of Balmoral Street near Notre Dame Avenue, CBC News has learned.

The incident happened around 4:30 a.m. in the city's Central Park neighbourhood.

The door of a rooming house on Balmoral Street has gunshot holes through it. ((Shaun McLeod))
A damaged door, with holes in it, could be seen at the rooming house later in the morning.

A man who works at a business in the area told CBC News he heard one gunshot then went to look outside and heard another shot from inside the rooming house.

The man, who did not want his name to be published, said he also saw three people — two men and a woman — duck and then run from the scene.

Officers are investigating and no arrests have yet been made.

2 homicides in just over a year

In a little more than a year, two people have been killed at the rooming house at 626 Balmoral Ave.

On Nov. 8, 2008, Philip Mayur was stabbed to death on the second floor. The 39-year-old man had arrived in Canada from Africa in the late '90s and made his way from Ontario to Winnipeg. Media reports said Mayur was the father of four children.

On Dec. 4, police announced the arrest of two men in connection to Mayur's death. The suspects, aged 26 and 42, were charged with first-degree murder, meaning police believe the killing was planned and premeditated. Their cases are still before the courts.

Last January, Valerie Paypompee, 36, was fatally stabbed in a suite on the second floor of the building. Police allege her boyfriend killed her during a domestic dispute. Paypompee, who was from Shoal Lake, Ont., was Winnipeg's second homicide of 2009.

Mulugeta Geddy Gillamichael, 34, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death. Gillamichael, originally from Ethiopia, was committed to stand trial in Court of Queen's Bench in November, but no trial dates have been set.

Drug 'epidemic' blamed

Arden Dale, 27, who lives at the Balmoral Street rooming house, said he didn't witness Wednesday's shooting but was unsurprised that it happened.

Dale blamed an "epidemic" of illegal drug use — especially of crack cocaine — for the eruptions of violence.

"It's usually the cause of all the jackings, people getting jacked for their money and different things like that," Dale said. "You hear all sorts of stories. And crack is definitely an epidemic and it needs to be dealt with."

Winnipeg police recently estimated that 500 kilograms of cocaine are shipped into Manitoba every month.

Police have not said if they suspect a drug dispute motivated Wednesday's shooting.