'Mutual shock and grief': Osborne Village mourns shopkeeper killed in fire police say was arson

Outside the E-Mart Groceries convenience store in Osborne Village, a single rose has been painted on the building and a memorial of flowers and handwritten messages sits out front. 

Neighbours organize memorial walk and fundraiser for family of Jung Ja Shin, 60

People have left flowers and messages outside the E-Mart Groceries convenience store on Scott Street in Osborne Village. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Outside the E-Mart Groceries convenience store in Osborne Village, a single rose has been painted on the building and a memorial of flowers and handwritten messages sits out front. 

The building, which included a store on the main level and a residence upstairs, was the scene of a fire late Sunday night that killed 60-year-old Jung Ja Shin. 

"She was just a very, very, very nice person" said Megan Ross, who lives in the area. 

Firefighters were called to the building near the intersection of Scott Street and Wardlaw Avenue around 11 p.m. on Sunday, according to police. 

Shin was taken to hospital in critical condition, but police say she died of her injuries.

The homicide unit is investigating and police say it's been determined the fire was set on purpose. Security footage of a suspect has been released by police. 

Outside the store Wednesday night, Ross got emotional while talking about Shin and her family. 

A memorial now sits outside of E-Mart Groceries on Scott Street, after a 60-year-old woman was killed following a fire there on Sunday. (Justin Fraser/ CBC)

Throughout the pandemic Ross tried to avoid bigger stores and said shopping at the family-run business ended up being some of the only human contact she had over long stretches of time. 

"You literally feel like family when you come," she said. 

"This is something that you never want anyone to ever have to go through ever." 

Ross is organizing a memorial walk for Thursday evening at 8 p.m. 

Jennifer Carlson, who also lives in the area, is helping. 

"We want to show the Shins that we love them," said Carlson. 

"I actually was here while the fire was going," she said. "I heard all the sirens and I saw the paramedics here and I was really hoping for the best outcome."

Carlson said she hopes the walk, which will begin outside the store Thursday evening, will also help people in the community deal with the loss of someone they knew and cared about. 

"The ability for us to come together and talk to each other and share our mutual shock and grief," she said. 

A GoFundMe page has already raised more than $2,300 for the family. 

'Just a heartbreaking tragedy'

Adrian Crittenden lives in the area and said he started the fundraiser because he wanted to do something to help.

"It's just a heartbreaking tragedy," said Crittenden.   

He said Shin worked in the daytime, but it was her son who was always running the store at night. 

He said they both lived on the second floor of the building. 

"I can't even imagine being in a situation of losing a …  mother, your home and your business," said Crittenden. 

A friend of the woman's son told CBC his friends and family are helping him get through what happened. 

Winnipeg police are searching for this man. They believe he set four fires in the same part of Osborne Village on Sunday night. (Submitted by Winnipeg Police Service)

Police are asking anyone with information about what happened to call the homicide unit at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers.

Police say it's believed the suspect was responsible for several fires in Osborne Village. 

The suspect has been described by police as about 30 years old, around five feet, 10 inches, with an athletic build, light short hair or a shaved head. Police say he was wearing a blue Adidas baseball hat, black T-shirt, black shorts, black footwear with white soles and a black COVID mask. 

Security video shows suspect in fatal arson investigation

1 year ago
Duration 1:17
Winnipeg police have released security camera footage of the person they believe is behind a string of fires in Osborne Village on Sunday night, including one that killed a 60-year-old woman.