3 charged with murder in Christmas Day killing of Winnipeg man who was beaten, robbed: police

Police have arrested three men in connection with a homicide that happened on Christmas Day.

Winnipeg police say Tyler Evan Smoke, 26, didn't know his attackers

Orville Pashe and Cheryl Paul comfort each other during a vigil for Pashe's nephew, Tyler Evan Smoke, in Winnipeg's West End on Dec. 26. Smoke died Christmas Day after he was found badly injured in a back lane. Three men have now been charged with second-degree murder. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

Winnipeg police have charged three men with murder in connection with the Christmas Day homicide of a man they say was beaten and robbed before his death.

Tyler Evan Smoke, 26, was found badly injured around 7:15 a.m. on Dec. 25 in a back lane between Victor Street and Toronto Street. He was taken in critical condition to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police arrested two men on Wednesday, and a third on Thursday, in connection with Smoke's death.

David Joseph Merasty, 25, Keenan Alexander Tom, 25, and Michael Anthony Caribou, 28, are all in custody and charged with second-degree murder.

Tyler Evan Smoke, 26, was found in this back lane between Victor Street and Toronto Street in the West End on Christmas Day 2018. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

Smoke was a "good kid" who liked to joke around and play tricks on his family, his uncle, Orville Pashe, said at a Dec. 26 vigil in Winnipeg.

In the days after Smoke was found, police asked the public for help in trying to piece together his whereabouts in the hours leading up to his death.

Smoke had been attacked by several people and robbed before his death.

The suspects and the victim did not know each other, police said.

"That always throws a bit of a different level of difficulty into the situation," Const. Tammy Skrabek said.

In other cases, police can ask friends and family who the victim was having problems with, she said.

"When they don't know the people, you don't get the answers that you need."

Investigators reached out to the community and were eventually led to the suspects, Skrabek said.

Caribou already in custody

Caribou also was charged with second-degree murder earlier this year, after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the death of Jason Peter John James, 40, on Sept. 22, 2018. 

He was already in custody when he was charged this week.

Michael Caribou was previously arrested on New Year's Day on a warrant for second-degree murder in connection with a September homicide. (Winnipeg Police Service/Supplied)

Caribou was arrested after police intervened in a melee at a downtown hotel bar early New Year's Day.

In that incident, 20 officers and cadets went to the Marlborough Hotel's bar, the Regal Beagle, after an intoxicated man caused $10,000 in damages and the emergency closure of the bar.

Police are not looking for any additional suspects.