3-year-old boy stabbed in Winnipeg to be taken off life-support, aunt says

A three-year-old boy, who was stabbed multiple times allegedly by his mother's boyfriend while sleeping Wednesday morning in his Winnipeg home, will be taken off life-support, his aunt says.

Boy given blood transfusions in hospital after Wednesday stabbing, man charged later that day

Hunter Straight-Smith, 3, has been in grave condition on life-support in hospital since Wednesday's stabbing attack. (Submitted by family)

A three-year-old boy, who was stabbed multiple times allegedly by his mother's boyfriend while sleeping Wednesday morning in his Winnipeg home, will be taken off life-support, his aunt says.

"[He] went for a MRI, and he has severe brain damage. He's not gonna make it," Roxanne Moar told CBC News in a text message.

Hunter Straight-Smith was found with multiple stab wounds when police arrived at a house in the city's North End around 2:30 a.m. CT on Wednesday.

Hunter was taken to hospital in grave condition, given two blood transfusions and placed on life-support.

At a vigil on Friday afternoon, family spokesperson Darryl Contois told the dozens of people in attendance that the family will decide later today when to take him off life-support.

"She's been through hell and back," he said, referring to Hunter's mother, Clarice Smith.

Some people at the vigil came to share words, prayers and music, while others in the crowd brought cards, flowers, signs with their condolences, toys and Halloween candy for the young boy.

Contois said Hunter was a funny, smart child who had dreams of becoming a police officer when he grew up.

Contois also said he visited Hunter earlier today. "To see a baby lying there that did no harm to no one really broke my heart," he said.

Daniel Jensen, 33, has been charged with attempted murder and assault causing bodily harm, as well as six counts of failing to comply with conditions of a recognizance and failing to comply with a probation order.

Police won't comment on Hunter's condition because of privacy laws prohibit them from speaking about medical information, said Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson Const. Jay Murray.

However, if Hunter dies, he said police would look at upgrading the charges. "But I've been told that hasn't happened at this time."

Clarice Smith, Hunter's mother, weeps at a vigil for her only son on Friday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Police said Jensen, who is not the child's biological father, was with Smith — his on-again, off-again girlfriend — at a location on Main Street when they got into an argument that escalated into a violent assault.

Smith suffered a number of injuries from that incident, police said.

"They're not believed to be life-threatening, but I don't want to characterize them as minor either," Murray said earlier this week.

From there, police say Jensen walked to the home a few blocks away on Pritchard Avenue, between Salter and Charles streets, and attacked Hunter.

According to court records, Jensen was charged in July with assault with a weapon and uttering threats against Smith.

Family members comfort each other at Friday's vigil. (Nelly Gonzalez/CBC)

Murray said the incident has been "incredibly tough for all levels of emergency personnel" who have been somehow involved with Hunter and his family — and will continue to be so.

"As these emergency personnel move away from the incident and have some time to decompress, it can be very tough," he said Friday. "It's one that will weigh [on] officers, will remain with officers, for a very long time."

The Winnipeg Police Service has several resources available to officers, he said, and he expects people will use them after a difficult week.

Daniel Jensen, 33, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon and charged with attempted murder and other counts. (Dan Jensen/Facebook)

Violent week

The attack against Hunter comes on the heels of a week of violence in Winnipeg, including three homicides in one night.

A 14-year-old girl died after being stabbed at a Halloween party on Kinver Avenue in the city's Tyndall Park area on Oct. 26. An 18-year-old woman was also stabbed and is recovering in hospital.

In a separate incident hours later, two men died after they were found with upper-body injuries in an alley near Ross Avenue and Isabel Street, in the Centennial neighbourhood. Police have not said how the men, aged 32 and 62, died.

A few hours later, three adults and an infant were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds after someone walked through the front door of a home in the city's North End and blasted a shotgun.

Two of the victims in the home, on Flora Avenue, were initially listed in critical condition, but all were later upgraded to stable, police said.

Police were called to a house in the city's North End at about 2:30 a.m. CT Wednesday and found the boy with multiple wounds. (CBC)

With files from Nelly Gonzalez, Rachel Bergen, Darren Bernhardt and Kim Kaschor