West End residents say they don't feel safe in own home after apparent violent episode of meth psychosis
'Meth doesn't discriminate. It attacks everyone,' man says after assault by attacker who barged into apartment
Drops of blood remained scattered throughout an apartment block in Winnipeg's West End Wednesday following what two residents describe as an apparent violent episode of meth psychosis that's left them worried about their safety.
Sometime around 9 a.m. Tuesday, a man believed to be under the influence of meth was seen on a surveillance video near the Pawn Traders store in the 600 block of Sargent Avenue, close to Maryland Street.
The video shows the man wandering around before chasing someone, apparently at random. Sometime after that, he made his way into an apartment block next to the pawn shop.
A 66-year-old woman and her son who live in the building said the man appeared to have been stabbed and was dripping blood.
CBC News has agreed not to identify the woman or her 29-year-old son because they fear reprisals for speaking out.
They said he followed a resident of the building inside, who went to call for help for him from the phone in her apartment.
'He just kept punching'
"When the paramedics arrived he seemed to get very distressed, agitated, almost like he didn't want to lose his high," said the son.
"He just started pushing and walking past the police, and then he proceeded to come back down the stairs.… I opened my door just to peek out and he started pointing and yelling, 'That person's beating their wife!'"
He said the man then charged toward his apartment, kicking his door multiple times before he forced his way inside.
"He jumped at me and he proceeded to start punching my face, and he just kept punching and punching," the tenant said.
"For almost 30 seconds I had to cower and defend my face."
I always had the ideology that … if you keep to yourself, mind your own business, don't get involved in the trash around you, you won't have a problem — but it came to our door and we didn't invite it in.- Resident
Police used a Taser on the attacker. The resident said paramedics had to give the man multiple sedatives before he calmed down.
"He was saying, 'I need help. Somebody help me. Somebody help me.' And then, when they were getting him help, it's like a switch turned on and it was, 'No more help. I want to go,' and then he just went."
'Meth doesn't discriminate'
The son estimated six Winnipeg police officers and another six paramedics had to hold the man down until he was sedated.
He and his mother talked on Wednesday about moving away from their apartment, where they've lived for the last six years.
"Right now, it's a terror," he said.
"I don't feel safe in my own home, and it's like you sit there and you think, 'This can't happen to me. It's just another news story, it's just another radio story' — but the fact is it happened to me. It can happen to any one of you in your own home.
"Meth doesn't discriminate. It attacks everyone."
The mom said the incident is an example of how the city's meth problem is affecting ordinary Winnipeggers.
"I always had the ideology that it doesn't matter where you live," she said.
"If you keep to yourself, mind your own business, don't get involved in the trash around you, you won't have a problem — but it came to our door and we didn't invite it in."
The two said they want the man who came into their apartment charged.
"He needs to be held accountable for his actions, whether he was fully aware of what he was doing or not aware at all," the mother said.
'These individuals are very unpredictable'
Winnipeg police spokesperson Jay Murray said police are treating the man as a victim of an assault, and believe meth played a role in the incident.
He said despite that, the man could still be charged for the apartment incident and encouraged the son to go to police.
"This individual told us that they didn't want to pursue charges at the time and it's not uncommon for somebody a day later to realize or change their decision. It happens all the time."
Murray said incidents like Tuesday's have become routine for police and front-line emergency workers in the city.
"I think for the average person to see somebody acting in this manner, it's very disturbing and it's very worrisome. But it's the reality of what our first responders are dealing with on a daily basis," he said.
"These individuals are very unpredictable. They may be believing or seeing different things and acting very paranoid," Murray said.
"Quite often these individuals are armed with weapons, and that's something our officers deal with."
The Professional Property Managers Association, which represents nearly 100 Manitoba landlords, said over the last year, problems associated with meth use have spiked.
"We're seeing lots of damage, lots of disturbance, lots of problems," said spokesperson Avrom Charach.
With files from Laurie Hoogstraten