Police Seek Murder Suspect – Shooting Investigation Evolves

WPS Shoulder Flash
WPS Shoulder Flash

On November 28, 2016, members of the Winnipeg Police Service and RCMP responded to two separate shooting incidents involving three (3) victims.

In the first incident, a man was shot and critically injured in the 400 block of Pritchard Ave.

The victim was identified as Benjamin Franklin Traverse (39) of Winnipeg.

On December 3, 2016, Traverse succumbed to his injuries.

The suspect (s) responsible for the shooting are also believed to have been involved in an incident where two people were kidnapped, forced into a vehicle and shot in the area of Raleigh Street between Glenway Ave and Foxgrove Ave in the East St Paul area.

Investigative efforts by the WPS and RCMP determined these incidents were related.

Police indicate the following men are wanted in connection with their alleged involvement;

Michael Tylor Fless - WPS Handout
Michael Tylor Fless-30 years – WPS Handout
  • Fless is described as Caucasian, 5’4″, 138 pounds with a medium build.

He is wanted for 2nd degree murder, attempt murder x 2, kidnapping and firearm offences.

James Andrew Jewels-26 - WPS Handout
James Andrew Jewels-26 years – WPS Handout
  • Jewels is described as Aboriginal, 5’10”, 166 pounds with a medium build.

He is wanted for attempt murder x 2, kidnapping, robbery and firearm offences.

Police indicate Fless & Jewels have street gang associations.

Police stress these men are NOT to be approached as they may be armed and should be considered dangerous.  If observed, police suggest you call police immediately.

Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is asked to contact investigators at 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).


On January 6, 2017, members of the WPS Major Crimes Unit and Tactical Support Team arrested Jewel who was charged with Attempt Murder x 2, Kidnapping x 2, Robbery with a Firearm x 2 and Robbery.

He was detained in custody.

On June 16, 2017, members of the Waterloo Police Service located and arrested Fless on the strength of a Canada Wide Warrant issued by the WPS.

Fless was charged with 2nd degree murder, Attempt Murder x 2, Kidnapping x 2, Robbery with a Firearm x 2 and Fail to Comply with Probation.

He was detained in custody.

Insider Commentary;

Traverse is the 22nd reported victim of homicide in 2016.

Police have solved all but 4 of these killings – solvency rate = 81%.

2016 Homicides – Manner of Death

  • Blunt Force – 10
  • Stabbing – 5
  • Shooting – 5
  • Arson – 2

Victim Demographics

  • Male – 17
  • Female – 5

In 2015, the 22nd homicide was reported on November 26.

Police investigated a total of 23 homicides in 2015.

Two cases remain unsolved – solvency rate = 91%.

2015 Homicides – Manner of Death

  • Blunt Force – 9
  • Stabbing – 7
  • Shooting – 5
  • Vehicular Assault – 1
  • Not Reported – 1

Victim Demographics

  • Male – 17
  • Female – 5
  • Infant – Female – 1

Why is the Major Crimes Unit investigating a homicide case?

In cases where death is not imminent, a decision must be made, usually in consultation with a Homicide Unit Supervisor, if the Homicide Unit will take charge of the investigation.

IMG_3534 (1)
Winnipeg Paramedic Service – Photo JGJ

The decision to investigate is generally based on the strength of evidence that suggests a victim is likely to succumb to their injuries. This information is often provided by medical professionals and conveyed by front line officers.

In this case, the Major Crime Unit investigated the circumstances presented to them at the time of the incident, a serious assault where death did not seem to be imminent.

Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to his injuries seven days after he was shot.

The Major Crime Unit properly maintained ownership of the file and will deal with suspects once they are apprehended.

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