16-year-old in custody after North End standoff that saw shots fired at Winnipeg police
Roughly 100 officers responded to 'frightening and traumatic' Wednesday standoff
A 16-year-old is in custody after an hours-long standoff in Winnipeg Wednesday, which saw officers exchange gunfire with an armed suspect police say had barricaded himself inside a North End home.
At a Thursday news conference, Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said roughly 100 officers responded to the "frightening and traumatic" situation that unfolded in front of a home near the intersection of Salter Street and Bannerman Avenue throughout the day.
Police were originally called to the area to respond to reports of shots being fired at a home near Aikins Street and Mountain Avenue around 6 a.m.
Smyth said that led police to the house on Bannerman, where five people were taken in custody Wednesday morning.
As police continued their investigation — and roughly an hour after telling media the situation had been resolved — officers flooded back into the area around 1 p.m.
That's because shots had been fired at officers from inside the home, said Smyth.
"This led to a long afternoon," he said at Thursday's news conference.
The tactical support team, the canine unit, crisis negotiators and the police service's armoured response vehicle were called in as police surrounded the home, and neighbours were told to stay indoors.
Nearby St. John's High School, Champlain School and Machray School were put into hold-and-secure situations and traffic was shut down in both directions on Salter at Bannerman.
Smyth couldn't say exactly how many shots were fired, but did say multiple shots were fired from multiple locations in the home throughout the day.
He said one officer returned fire.
No one was seriously injured and the 16-year-old suspect ultimately surrendered around 6 p.m., after police used gas to force him out of the home. The male teen suspect spent the night in hospital and remains in custody, said Smyth.
Police believe the young man is also responsible for the shooting at the home on Aikins Street earlier in the day, and Smyth says he expects the accused will be facing "multiple criminal charges."
Forensic investigators remained at the scene Thursday. Smyth said both the homicide and major crimes units are leading up the investigation.
"This is still very much active in investigation right now," said Smyth. "We'll get this neighbourhood back to normal as soon as we can."
Police are also looking for a suspect in connection with a shooting that happened nearby shortly after the standoff ended.
Emergency crews were called after a 23-year-old man was found around 6:20 p.m. near Bannerman Avenue and Salter Street with a gunshot wound to his upper body.
The victim was rushed to hospital in critical condition.
Police said Thursday they're not sure yet if the shooting is related to the standoff.
"Is there a possibility? There certainly is because we haven't confirmed who the suspect is in this case, so it is very possible that it is related to yesterday's incident," said WPS spokesperson Const. Tammy Skrabek.
What police do know is the victim was walking in the area when he "exchanged words" with another male and female before being shot.
Anyone with information on that shooting is asked to call investigators at 204-986-6219.
'It is not normal to be fired on'
While Smyth said situations involving armed and barricaded people like Wednesday's standoff are relatively rare, police have been called to several similar incidents in the city in the last few weeks.
That includes another incident Wednesday morning, in the West End of the city, where two people briefly barricaded themselves inside a business they'd allegedly just robbed, police say.
In late October, police dealt with an hour-long standoff that saw an armed man lock himself in a Pembina Avenue beer store, and just last week several people were arrested following a standoff at a home on Chudley Street.
Smyth said standoffs with armed suspects can be stressful situations for officers, and half of the officers involved in the Bannerman Avenue situation have been interviewed by the police service's behavioural health unit.
Nine of those officers have been placed on administrative leave while they deal with the stress, he said.
"It is not normal to be fired on," Smyth said.