Police tape still surrounds a Langside Street home in Winnipeg’s West Broadway community after a violent shooting took the lives of four people.
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On Monday, Winnipeg police announced the victims of the weekend shooting, identifying those killed as Crystal Shannon Beardy, 34; Stephanie Amanda Beardy, 33; Melelek Leseri Lesikel, 29; and Dylan Maxwell Lavallee, 41.
Officers said Crystal Beardy and Stephanie Beardy were sisters from Lake St. Martin First Nation.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been made or suspects identified, according to the Winnipeg Police Service. There was also no update on the condition of the fifth victim of the shooting, a 55-year-old man who was last listed as in critical condition in hospital.
Angela Klassen is the West Broadway coordinator of the Bear Clan Patrol, a community safety group that patrols the area four days a week. She says the shooting has left many in the community shocked.
“It’s something we don’t expect to happen in our community, and my heart was broken when I heard one family lost two family members. It’s heartbreaking,” Klassen told Global News.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it as well as the rest of the community. It’s devastating and heartbreaking.”
Klassen says it’s also left many in the normally quiet West Broadway community feeling a sense of unease, and she says the Bear Clan will have a heightened presence in the community over the next few weeks.
“The community is feeling on edge, they’re scared, they’re angry, they want answers,” Klassen said.
“They’re just at a loss, as the rest of the city. This is senseless, absolutely senseless.”
For community activist Sel Burrows, it brings a range of emotions.
“I’m just angry, I’m just so angry (these) kinds of murders take place,” Burrows said.
“Two more Indigenous women were murdered, four people were murdered. Neighbours say they knew this was a problem household, this should have been dealt with before anybody got shot.”
Burrows says crime prevention needs to be a whole community approach, rather than just relying solely on law enforcement.
“What we need to be doing in Winnipeg is raising people’s sense of safety, raising that they’re in control of their community,” Burrows said.
“And to do that, we need to have a system in place where neighbours like this can say, ‘hey, there’s a problem house there,’ and somebody does something about it. And it doesn’t have to be the police force all the time, it can be other civic bodies. The community needs to be the eyes on the street, the whole city needs to be able to respond.”
Frank Cormier, a criminologist with the University of Manitoba’s department of sociology and criminology, says the solutions to chronic violent crime in Winnipeg are complex, but they’re not out of reach.
“We know what we can do to try and reduce violent crime and to reduce homicide, the problem is that the answers are not simple things,” Cormier said.
“It’s not we need to hire more police or we need to toughen up sentences; none of those things really do any good. These are systemic problems. People who are involved in violent crime overwhelmingly tend to be people who are living in desperate circumstances.”
“Addressing these larger societal problem is how we address these things. The problem is finding the will. Firstly, the political will,” Cormier added.
“Politicians have to think in terms of four years at most in terms of how they maintain their popularity. Very few politicians are ready to take on a 10- or 20-year plan that will cost a lot of money but can guarantee that we can reduce violent crime significantly in our city. It has been done in cities around the world so we know it can be done, it’s finding the will to do it that seems to be the most difficult part.”
Violent crime in Winnipeg
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