On August 2, 2016, the Winnipeg Police Service issued a news release providing updates on a pair of recent homicides.
The first killing occurred on July 5, 2016, at approximately 3:50 am, when emergency personnel responded to the area of Portage Avenue and Donald Street regarding a report of an injured man.
The victim was transported to hospital in critical condition and later died of his injuries.
He was identified as Cyril Quentin Weenusk (26) of Oxford House, Manitoba.
Media reports indicated Weenusk travelled to Winnipeg to provide a medical escort for his father who is fighting cancer.
Weenusk was a father of four (4) young boys.
He was the 14th reported homicide victim in Winnipeg this year.
On July 13, 2016, Police issued a news release reporting a suspect had been identified in the killing.
Police advised an arrest warrant for 2nd degree murder had been obtained for Geordie Douglas Wood (22) of St. Theresa Point, Manitoba.
Wood was described as an Aboriginal male, dark hair and a slim build.
Police asked anyone with information regarding Wood’s whereabouts to contact investigators.
On July 16, 2016, Police issued a news release indicating Wood was arrested at the Winnipeg Remand Centre where he was being held on unrelated charges.
(Those unrelated charges included allegations of assault, possession of stolen property and failing to comply with probation order x 2.)
Wood was returned to custody.
At the time of the arrest, police sources indicated a further arrest was pending.
On Thursday, July 28, 2016, Police issued a media release seeking the public’s assistance identifying a second suspect in the killing. Investigators obtained video surveillance footage and released a screen capture in attempts to identify the alleged offender.
Police obtained a court order authorizing the release of the images as the subject male depicted in the photographs appeared to be a young offender.
(The order prohibited the publication of the photographs after July 31, 2016.)
Police advised the release of the images resulted in the suspect being immediately identified and arrested a short time later.
Police identified the suspect as Renelle McDougall (20) of Winnipeg.
Mcdougal was charged with 2nd degree murder and was remanded into custody.
Police spokesperson Constable Rob Carver indicated;
“It was a random occurrence between two parties and an altercation ultimately escalated into violence.”
No other arrests are expected.
Offender with Long Rap Sheet Charged in North End Killing
Police also provided an update on the most recent not so random Winnipeg killing.
On July 28, 2016, at approximately 11:30 p.m., WPS General Patrol units and the Tactical Support Team responded to the area of the 100 block of Bannerman Avenue regarding the report of gun shots.
Police subsequently located a male victim suffering from a gunshot wound in a suite in a multi-family home in the area.
The victim was transported to hospital but was subsequently pronounced deceased.
The WPS Homicide Unit continued the investigation.
The victim was identified as Kingston Paul (20) of Winnipeg.
On July 29, 2016, Homicide Detectives charged Erskine Ruggles (61) with manslaughter with a firearm as a result of his alleged involvement in the killing.
Carver indicated Ruggles and Paul were previously known to each other.
“There is a drug connection,” he suggested.
Ruggles was detained in custody.
Paul is the 17th reported homicide victim in Winnipeg this year.
All but three (3) cases have been solved – solvency rate 82%.
Erskine Ruggles has an extensive criminal record dating back several decades.
In 1995, he was charged with 1st degree murder in the prison killing of Manitoba Warriors gang member Bertrand Myran,
Ruggles was an alleged “six man” who was serving a ten (10) year sentence at Stony Mountain Penitentiary for armed robbery at the time of the incident.
(Myran was serving time for a shooting at a Winnipeg Hotel.)
Police also charged Edmond Roopnarine-Singh (21), Carlyle Calvin Thomas (28) and Wayne Jack Bender (44) in the killing.
Roopnarine-Singh was convicted of 1st degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for twenty-five years.
Ruggles and Bender were both acquitted at trial.
(Bender was a convicted axe-murderer, circa 1974, and was serving a 20 year sentence at the time of the killing.)
The charges against Carlyle Thomas were eventually stayed by the Crown when jurors failed to reach a verdict.
In 2006, Ruggles was sentenced to 40 months in prison for aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and for being unlawfully in a dwelling house.
The victim of the assault suffered extreme blood loss, three heart attacks, nerve damage to his face and was permanently disfigured.
“This was an egregious, unprovoked attack,” QB Justice Karen Simonsen lamented during the sentencing hearing.
Ruggles claimed self-defence and yelled, “Where is this man I supposedly almost cut in half,” as he was being led out of the courtroom by Sheriff’s Officers.
The victim, Paul was recently charged with a number of offences including robbery and mischief under $5,000.
The charges were dropped in April 2016.