EDITORIALS, LOCAL NEWS, Police Insider - Murder in River City - Year in Review

2018 Murder in River City – Year in Review

WPS Public Information Officer Constable Jay Murray (Photo JGJ)

In 2018, the Winnipeg Police Service’s Homicide Unit continued to do what they do best, that is, solve murders.

Last year the WPS investigated a total of twenty-two (22) homicides, solving all but two (2) cases.

That translates to a solvency rate of 90.9%.

(One unsolved case occurred on Christmas Day and is still very much considered an active investigation.)

In 2017, the WPS Homicide Unit investigated a total of twenty-three (23) homicides solving all 23 cases achieving a rare 100% solvency rate.

In 2016, the WPS Homicide Unit investigated a total of twenty-six (26) homicides solving all but one (1) case securing a solvency rate of 96.15%.


Update:

On March 1, 2019, the WPS released information indicating the Christmas Day homicide reported above was solved.

Police have now solved 21 out of 22 reported homicide cases in 2018 – solvency rate = 95.45%.


100% Solvency Rates

The WPS Homicide Unit has achieved a remarkable solvency rate over the last twenty-year (20) period, a fact mostly ignored by mainstream media.

“Since 1999, the WPS has investigated a total of 496 homicides, solving all but 40 cases, that translates to a remarkable 91.93% solvency rate achieved over the last two decades.”

Since 1999, the WPS has investigated a total of 496 homicides, solving all but 40 cases, that translates to a remarkable 91.93% solvency rate achieved over the last two decades

During that time frame, the unit has achieved a 100% solvency rate in five (5) separate years;

  • 1999 – 14 homicides
  • 2000 – 17 homicides
  • 2004 – 34 homicides
  • 2014 – 26 homicides
  • 2017 – 23 homicides
Homicide Cases on the Cusp

The elusive 100% annual solvency rate is within reach in a number of calendar years where only one (1) unsolved homicide case remains on the books;

  • 2002 – 21 homicides – 1 unsolved case
  • 2006 – 22 homicides – 1 unsolved case
  • 2013 – 25 homicides – 1 unsolved case
  • 2016 – 26 homicides – 1 unsolved case
  • 2018 – 22 homicides – 1 unsolved case

*Many of the unsolved cases involve victims who were involved in the sex trade or who were gang members or associates. These types of cases can be extremely difficult to solve.


2018 Western Canadian Police Solvency Rates
VPD Officer Makes Arrest (Photo JGJ)

In 2018, homicide and solvency rates in Western Canada varied;

  • Vancouver – 15 homicides – 12 unsolved – solvency rate = 20%
  • Calgary – 17 cases – 5 unsolved – solvency rate = 70.58%
  • Edmonton – 27 cases – 12 unsolved – solvency rate = 55.55%
  • Regina –  6 cases – 1 unsolved – solvency rate = 83.33%
  • Saskatoon – 9 cases – 2 cases remain unsolved – solvency rate = 77.77%

Anecdotal Information;
  • In 2018, Vancouver PD experienced an extremely low solvency rate, however, many of the cases are still considered active investigations and arrests may be pending
  • In 2016, VPD reported an 18.18% solvency rate after solving only 2 of 11 homicide cases by year-end. Since then, the VPD Homicide Unit dramatically improved the solvency rate for that year to 58%. (For clarity, VPD added one further homicide case and now report 7 of 12 homicide cases have been cleared for 2016)
  • Calgary PS experienced a significant reduction in their homicide rate, from 27 killings in 2017 to only 17 killings in 2018, a significant 37% reduction
  • Edmonton continues to experience high homicide rates but also experienced a significant reduction from 42 killings in 2017 to 27 killings in 2018, a 35.71% reduction
  • Regina recorded a total of 6 homicides last year, 3 less than in 2017
  • Saskatoon recorded 9 homicides in 2018, up from only 5 killings the previous year, an 80% increase

WPS Police-Involved Shootings
IIU Media Release – Officer-Involved Shooting

In 2018, WPS officers were involved in only one (1) non-fatal officer-involved shooting in the City of Winnipeg.

On October 4, 2018, at approximately 12:04 a.m., police responded to a shots fired call in the 300 block of Mountain Avenue. On arrival, officers encountered an individual and shots were fired.

A male youth was rushed to hospital where he was treated and released. No officers were injured.

The case remains under investigation by the Manitoba IIU.

Fatal Police Encounters

In 2018, there were two (2) cases where subjects died in police-involved encounters;

  • On July 29, 2018, at approximately 10:30 p.m., police encountered a man who threatened them near the intersection of Logan Avenue and Princess Street. Officers subsequently deployed a taser striking the man who became unresponsive. The man was transported to hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The Manitoba IIU was called out to investigate.

  • On October 25, 2018, at 4:00 a.m., WPS officers responded to the report of a disturbance near the CN rail line in east Winnipeg. When officers arrived they took a man into custody who became unresponsive as he was being handcuffed.

The man was conveyed to hospital but died the next day.

The cause of death has not been reported.

The Manitoba IIU continues to investigate.


2018 Western Canadian Fatal Police-Involved Shootings

In 2018, police in Western Canada were involved in multiple fatal police-involved shootings.

  • The Calgary Police Service reported a total of 9 officer-involved shootings, five (5) of which were fatal.
  • The Edmonton Police Service reported two (2) fatal police-involved shootings.
  • The Saskatoon Police Service reported one (1) fatal police-involved shooting.

2019 WPS Police-Involved Shootings
WPS Media Release – Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting

At the time of this report, the WPS has already reported two (2) police-involved shootings in 2019, one of which proved to be fatal.

On January 9, 2019, WPS officers were involved in a prolonged high-speed chase that ended in an officer-involved shooting. A twenty-three (23) year old suspect suffered a wound as a result of a gunshot and was treated and released from hospital.

On January 11, 2019, at approximately 7:50 p.m., members of the WPS encountered a man acting in a suspicious manner in the area of Sergeant Avenue and Maryland Street. As officers approached the man he fled.

Officers pursued the man to a nearby lot at which time the man produced a weapon and officers discharged their firearms. Police provided medical aid and the man was rushed to hospital in critical condition.

The man was subsequently pronounced deceased.

The Manitoba IIU was notified and assumed responsibility for the investigation.

No further information has been released.

*Media reports published since the shooting disclose disturbing information regarding the man shot in this case.


2017 WPS Police-Involved Shootings

In 2017, the WPS reported a total of five (5) police-involved shootings, two of which were fatal.

Adrian Laquette – Shot & Killed by WPS Tactical Team Officers (FB)

On September 13, 2017, at 12:50 a.m., WPS Tactical Team Officers shot and killed Adrian Lacquette (23) in a north end confrontation after police pursued him after his involvement in an alleged crime spree that included assaults on a woman, an attempted carjacking with a firearm and a robbery.

Lacquette was believed to be an active gang member.

On September 23, 2017, at 4:00 p.m., WPS Tactical Team Officers shot and killed Evan Caron (33) after police were called to a domestic dispute in the Maples area.

Upon arrival, officers were confronted by Caron who subsequently stabbed one of the officers.

The officer was treated at hospital and released.

The Edmonton Police Service reported seven (7) police-involved shootings in 2017 two of which proved to be fatal.

The WPS reported no officer-involved shootings in 2016.

There were two (2) WPS officer-involved shootings in 2015.


Violence Against Women
Christine Lynnette Barker – 2018 Homicide Victim (FB)

In 2018, five (5) women were victims of homicide in the City of Winnipeg.

  • All five cases were solved
  • 3 of the 5 suspects charged in the killings were women

In 2017, four (4) women were victims of homicide in the City of Winnipeg.

  • All four cases were solved
  • 2 of the 4 suspects charged were women

In 2016, seven (7) women were victims of homicide.

  • One (1) case remains unsolved
  • 3 of the 8 suspects charged were women

In 2015, five (5) women were victims of homicide.

  • All five cases were solved
  • 1 of the 5 suspects charged were women

2018 Murder / Suicides

In 2018, the City of Winnipeg recorded two (2) murder-suicides, both motivated by domestic violence.

These cases are considered rare in our city, to have two such cases in one calendar year would have to be considered an anomaly.

The last domestic murder-suicide investigated by the WPS occurred in 2015 when Camille Runke was shot to death by her estranged husband who later committed suicide as the police closed in to make the arrest.

Buckingham Road Crime Scene (Photo JGJ)

On May 21, 2018, police located the bodies of a deceased man and woman at a residence in the 600 block of Buckingham Road in Charleswood.

Police subsequently issued a press release indicating;

“Investigators have determined the incident was domestic related and the female had been assaulted, sustaining upper-body injuries, prior to her death. The male’s injuries were found to be self-inflicted.”

Police spokesperson Constable Tammy Skrabek indicated the couple had been married for approximately 30 years but had recently separated.


On Tuesday, August 14th, 2008, the Winnipeg Police Service issued a press release indicating domestic violence appeared to be the motive in a pair of deaths reported earlier in the month.

On August 7, 2018, Winnipeg Police patrol officers responded to a home in the 100 block of Wordsworth Way to check the well-being of a resident.

On arrival, the officers located the bodies of two deceased adult men.

Detectives from the WPS Homicide Unit assumed responsibility for the investigation and indicated the incident appeared to be a case of domestic violence.

Wordsworth Way Crime Scene (Photo JGJ)

“We’re fairly confident that were not looking for any outstanding suspects,” WPS PIO Constable Rob Carver said during a press conference.

“There’s no ongoing risk to the public.”

Although his comments were suggestive of a murder-suicide scenario, Carver exercised caution during the media release;

“It’s not a homicide investigation until we confirm it’s a homicide investigation by forensics and an autopsy.”

In the media release, police identified the deceased men as Kok Aun Tee (37) and Luis Miguel Almeida (33) of Winnipeg.

Police indicated investigators determined the incident was domestic in nature and report Tee had been assaulted and sustained fatal injuries.

Police believe Almeida’s injuries were self-inflicted.


Indigenous Over-Representation
RCMP Operational National Review Report Cover

Indigenous over-representation in homicide continued to trend in 2018.

Conservative estimates suggest as high as 41% of victims of homicide in 2018 were Indigenous people.

As high as 70% of the perpetrators are believed to be of Indigenous origin.

According to Statistics Canada, Indigenous people represent only 11% of the population in the City of Winnipeg.

The numbers are staggering and continue to be largely ignored.

(The WPS does not release information regarding the ethnicity of victims or perpetrators. Therefore, assumptions are often made based on analysis of surnames, obituaries or media accounts.)


Firearm-Related Homicide

In 2018, the WPS investigated a total of three (3) firearm-related homicide cases, a 57% decrease from the previous year.

In 2017, police investigated a total of seven (7) firearm-related homicide cases.

In 2016, police investigated a total of five (5) firearm-related homicide cases.


Gang-Related Killings
IP Gangster – FB

In 2018, it would seem it was business as usual in the drug, street gang and organized crime-related killings department.

Information indicates the WPS investigated five (5) drug-related and three (3) gang-related killings in 2018.

In 2017, the WPS investigated a total of eight (8) homicide cases that were reported to have a drug, street gang or organized crime connections.

In 2016, the WPS investigated three (3) gang-related homicide cases.

In 2015, the WPS investigated two (2) gang-related homicide cases.

In 2013, the WPS investigated six (6) gang-related homicides.

(In earlier years police investigated a significant number of gang-related killings.)


Youth Crime

In 2018, the WPS charged a total of three (3) young offenders with homicide-related offences.

The youngest offender was 13 years of age while the other two offenders were 15 years of age.

All three offenders were male.

Two 17-year-old male youths were victims of homicide last year.

In 2017, the WPS charged a total of nine (9) young offenders with homicide-related offenses that ran the gamut from 1st-degree murder to 2nd-degree murder to manslaughter.

A total of 7 males and 2 females were charged in the killings.

The accused killers ranged in age from 14 – 17 years.

(Both female young offenders were 14 years of age.)

In 2016, no young offenders were charged with murder.


WPS Homicide Detectives Working Crime Scene (Photo JGJ)
2018 Homicide Demographics 
Victims:
  • Youngest victim – male child – 21 months (Not Identified)
  • Oldest victim – Hans George Scheppner (85)
  • The average age of victims – 40.66 years (Total of 22 victims)
Perpetrators:
  • Youngest perpetrator – 13-year-old male (Not Identified)
  • Oldest perpetrator – Anne-Dore Maria Scheppner (73)
  • The average age of perpetrators – 30.27 years (Total of 33 perpetrators)
Manner of Death – 2018 Homicides
  • Stabbing – 13
  • Blunt Force – 6
  • Shooting – 3
Victim Gender Demographics
  • Male – 17
  • Female – 5

Manner of Death – 2017 Homicides
  • Stabbing – 13
  • Shooting – 7
  • Blunt Force – 3
Victim Gender Demographics
  • Male – 19
  • Female – 4

2019 WPS K9 Calendar

Looking Ahead to 2019

What to look for in 2019;

Will we continue to see relatively low homicide numbers in the City of Winnipeg?

Despite an apparent rise in firearm-related offenses and gun violence, will we see firearm-related homicides continue to trend downwards?

Will the fallout from the crystal methamphetamine crisis impact the 2019 homicide statistics?

Will the WPS Homicide Unit continue to solve 90% of all new homicide cases?

Will we continue to see high numbers of police-involved shootings across Western Canada?


Factoids;
  • In 2019, the first homicide of the year was reported on January 1.
  • In 2018, the first homicide of the year was reported on January 9.
  • In 2017, the first homicide of the year was reported on January 3.
  • In 2016, the first homicide of the year was reported on January 12.

*The WPS continues to include the 2016 homicide of Christine Wood in their 2017 statistics. 

**For the purposes of this report, “solved cases” refer to cases where murder or manslaughter charges are laid in connection with a homicide.  


Editor’s Note;

The Police Insider wishes to express our appreciation to the Western Canadian Police Agencies who provided statistics for this story.


Related:

The Police Insider – “2017 Murder in River City – Year in Review”

The Police Insider – “2016 Murder in River City – Year in Review”

The Police Insider – “2015 Murder in River City – Year in Review”

The Police Insider – “2014 Murder in River City – Year in Review”

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