Dramatic video shows police firing guns, tackling man to end standoff at Winnipeg beer vendor
Man in store was seen with 2 knives, using cellphone, drinking beer
A prolonged standoff at a Pembina Highway beer vendor came to a dramatic end Thursday night when Winnipeg police used non-lethal bullets to subdue the suspect as he tried to flee.
Const. Jay Murray said the incident began when police were called to The Bottle Shop, a beer vendor at Pembina and Plaza Drive at 3:40 p.m. after a man entered the store armed with two knives. He said employees were able to leave the store while the man locked himself inside.
Watch the dramatic takedown:
"So as officers get on scene this transitions into what we call an armed and barricaded situation. We're gonna stay on scene as long as we can and we're gonna work to develop a bit of a relationship, a rapport with this individual," said Murray.
Several police cars and at least a dozen officers surrounded the beer store. Murray said some of them were highly trained members of the Winnipeg Police Service's tactical support team, as well as crisis negotiators.
There were also a number of officers holding a perimeter around the scene to make sure no one got into harm's way. For the next several hours police appeared to be negotiating with the man in an effort to defuse the situation.
"Essentially we've got access to a lot of tools but our words are probably our most powerful and the ones we go to first," said Murray. "We want to try bringing these situations to a peaceful resolution and sometimes that can take a long time."
During the near-four-hour standoff, the man appeared agitated and could be seen through the store's glass doors waving two knives around as more than a hundred onlookers watched from the parking lot of an adjacent strip mall.
At one point, at least seven officers were standing near the front door speaking with the man. The man could be seen using a cellphone.
The man, who appeared to be in his 30s was wearing khaki pants and a red sweater. He could also be seen drinking beer and smoking inside the store.
About three hours into the standoff a passerby yelled at police, "Why don't you just tase[r] him and get it over with?" Murray said that's not how police work.
"It's tough, there's a lot of armchair quarterbacks out there but you've got a lot of specially trained officers that are here, some of the best their service has to offer," said Murray. "There's no rush in situations like this you just want to work with this individual and try bringing them out or take them into custody safely and that's exactly what happened tonight."
At around 7:20 p.m. the police tactical team fired "less-lethal" bullets at the man and he began to run away. He appeared to be heading toward a nearby strip mall where crowds were still gathered to watch the action unfold. A number of officers manged to tackle the suspect to the ground and took him into police custody.
"Adrenaline does a lot in situations and I don't think people realize that whenever we have to use some kind of a weapon, people will still run and and that's why we have contingencies in place," said Murray.
As that was happening the crowd rushed to move in closer to get a better look, but police who were holding the perimeter stepped in to keep them a safe distance away.
"We never want to use force if we don't have to. In this case we did have to use some force but it is the best-case scenario, no one was injured and we were able to take this person safely into custody and ensure this person either gets the help they need or processed appropriately," said Murray.
Murray wouldn't say what type of bullets were used on the suspect, just that they were "less-lethal."
He said the man was known to police and is facing a number of charges.
Const. Jay Murray explains how police handled the situation:
"I can say that this person is the suspect in a number of criminal offences that occurred this afternoon."
Police believe the man was impaired. He was taken to hospital as a precaution but officers say he doesn't appear to have been injured.
With files from Caroline Barghout