Two dead, including 16-year-old girl, in two Winnipeg police shootings

Two dead, including 16-year-old girl, in two Winnipeg police shootings

WINNIPEG — A 16-year-old girl and a man have died after two separate shootings involving police officers in Winnipeg.

Police Chief Danny Smyth said Thursday the teen’s death was a tragic end to a police pursuit that began after a liquor store robbery.

Smyth said a group of people swarmed the store Wednesday night, grabbed bottles and threatened staff. He alleged the thieves fled in a stolen vehicle.

A nearby police cruiser followed and police allege the stolen SUV rammed it. A police chase continued for a few minutes before the suspect vehicle collided with a number of cars and stopped.

Manitoba’s Independent Investigation Unit said while officers arrested the passengers, an officer shot the teen who was driving. She was taken to hospital, where she died.

Two other girls and two boys, who are 15 and 16, face charges including robbery and theft of a vehicle.

Manitoba authorities have been cracking down after an increase in brazen liquor store thefts. Last year, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries CEO Manny Atwal said the stores were “under siege.” In many cases, groups entered stores, filled backpacks and bags and simply walked away. A liquor store employee was knocked unconscious in one such robbery last November.

New security measures were put in place in many stores across Winnipeg, including more secure entrances.

Smyth could not say whether the liquor store involved Wednesday had increased security.

In a second shooting Thursday morning, officers fired at a 36-year-old man while they were responding to a domestic violence call, Smyth said.

When officers arrived at the home, they heard a woman screaming and in distress, he said. After forcing their way in, officers discovered a man with a gun, an injured woman and a teenage girl.

Smyth said the officers left to try to calm the situation. But the man eventually came out the front door, confronted police, and was shot by an officer.

The man later died in hospital.

The Independent Investigation Unit said it is investigating both shootings.

Smyth said that in general, “deadly use of force is appropriate when an officer fears for their own life or the life and safety of others.”

The watchdog agency will determine what happened, he said.

Twelve officers are being removed from regular duties as part of the investigations, as well as to give them time to deal with what happened, Smyth said.

“The police officers involved did not come to work expecting to be involved in shootings.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2020

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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