Police chasing jester, masked man after attempted armed robbery at Winnipeg bar

Police searched west Winnipeg for two suspects after an attempted robbery, a gun being fired and a person being thrown into a window at a bar.

Witnesses described pandemonium, including two suspects fighting with a machete — one dressed as a jester

Police swarmed Crestview after the robbery and several witnesses were taken in for questioning after the ordeal. (Julianne Runne/CBC)

Police searched west Winnipeg for two suspects after an attempted robbery, a gun being fired and a person being thrown into a window at a bar.

"When we got there it was complete mayhem. People were running out of the bar ... it was not a great situation," said Candace, who asked that her last name not be used.

She had arrived just moments after the chaos started Tuesday night inside the lounge part of Gizzys Restaurant & Bar.

"It's just been in the last little while that things seem to have gotten quite crazy at that place," said Candace, who was picking up her daughter near the building on Ness Avenue, in the Sturgeon Creek Village strip mall. 

Emergency crews were called around 8:30 p.m. and witnesses described pandemonium, including two suspects running out and fighting with a machete — one of them wearing a jester-type costume. 

A sawed-off shotgun could be seen in the parking lot. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

"One guy came out, he was in like a clown-type jester suit. Another guy came out ... they were kind of wrestling," said Candace's 15-year-old daughter Alexus, who had just left a dance class in the strip mall and was standing outside.

The second man, wearing a black balaclava or face mask, ran at the jester, she said, adding she saw a long machete-type knife and heard a gunshot.

Police confirmed a gun was shot at the ceiling inside the bar but said no one was hit. A sawed-off shotgun could be seen behind Gizzy's in the parking lot but police did not provide any information on whether that was the gun that was fired. 

"As I was coming around, I saw this guy in the joker costume, thinking 'oh great, here's Halloween, yay — all these idiots walking around in their clown costumes because [the movie] IT is out,'" Candace said.

She said people were yelling at Alexus to call 911 but Candace quickly scooped up her daughter and called 911 herself. 
Police were on the hunt for two suspects after the attempted robbery. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

"Inside the bar, there was somebody holding a chair. We could see the guy in the balaclava in the background," Candace said. 

"We saw the glass being shattered, we were there, and the glass got completely shattered, somebody got pushed against it."

A man wearing a black shirt was pushed through the glass, she said, adding he didn't appear to be wearing a costume. 

"It was a bad situation. So quickly, so quickly how things escalated it seemed." 

The dance studio called to make sure Alexus was safe and to say the studio was on lockdown, according to Candace, who said her daughter was shaken up and crying all the way home. 

"I'm just thankful that she's safe. I'm just very thankful that she's safe."

Police said the person shoved through the window was treated for a minor injury and no one was hurt from the gunshot.

The Winnipeg police major crimes unit is investigating.

About the Author

Tessa Vanderhart

Tessa Vanderhart is a producer at CBC Manitoba. She welcomes story tips at tessa.vanderhart@cbc.ca.

With files from Austin Grabish