If you hear it, run as fast as you can and don’t ever look back.
“Who you reppin,” is a question Winnipeg gangsters ask to determine the gang status of perceived rival gang members. The problem is, the thugs don’t often wait to hear the answer or even attempt to access the response before they launch their deadly attacks.
That was true in the case of the reprehensible broad daylight killing of Winnipeg resident Nigel Dixon (20).
On April 2, 2013, Dixon and several of his friends were minding their own business as they walked down Langside Street near Ellice Ave around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. It was just another day in River City.
People who worked in the area were getting ready for the drive home while students at nearby University of Winnipeg were closing their text books and packing up their backpacks.
If life could only be that simple…
As Dixon and company walked down the street they had a chance encounter with several members of the Mad Cowz street gang.
It could have happened to anyone.
“Who you reppin?” one of the gangsters asked confronting Dixon and his friends.
“No one, we’re from the rez,” a young female friend of Dixon’s replied.
It should have ended there, it was clear, Dixon and friends were not rival gang members nor did they pose any threat.
But that didn’t matter.
It especially didn’t matter to the seventeen (17) year old thug who pulled a 9 mm handgun and started firing. A total of five (5) shots were fired, all finding their mark in Nigel Dixon’s back killing him almost instantly.
(Two (2) of the projectiles exited Dixon’s body and struck a young woman who was standing behind him. The woman suffered serious injuries but survived the senseless attack.)
The shooter subsequently fled the scene and went into hiding.
He would be on the run for 346 days before the long arm of the law could catch up with him.
On March 13, 2014, members of the Vancouver Police Department arrested the accused killer on the strength of a Winnipeg Police Service Canada Wide Warrant for 2nd degree murder.
On December 15, 2015, the now twenty (20) year old shooter, plead guilty to 2nd degree murder before Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche.
If sentenced as an adult, the teen killer will receive a “life” sentence but will be eligible for parole after a scant seven (7) years in custody.
In all probability, he’ll be out of jail sometime around his twenty-fifth (25) birthday.
In total, the senseless act of violence will likely only inconvenience the cold-blooded killer for some eight (8) years. It strikes me, the sentence is almost as tragic as the crime itself when one considers Mr. Dixon’s life expectancy.
Some call it justice.
The Joseph McLeod Story – “I’m not reppin anything.”
Nigel Dixon isn’t alone on the list of innocent victims slain in misguided gang related killings over “turf.”
On May 23, 2009, Joseph McLeod (23) made the fatal error of donning a white bandana before heading out for a walk in his neighbourhood.
What McLeod didn’t know is white bandana’s are widely worn by street thugs who “rep” the Native Syndicate gang.
It was a peaceful Saturday afternoon when McLeod crossed paths with two fourteen (14) year old thugs in the rear lane of an apartment building at 477 Ross Ave.
(Approximately 700 meters from Police Headquarters at 151 Princess Street.)
That’s when it happened.
The teens confronted McLeod with the deadly question, “Who you reppin?”
McLeod pulled off the “rag” and informed the young thugs he didn’t “rep” anything or anybody, but that didn’t matter.
In a flash, the gangsters attacked, punching, kicking and stabbing McLeod before he had any chance to defend himself. He died from a stab wound to his heart.
The two street thugs were charged with 2nd degree murder.
The teen who inflicted the fatal wound plead guilty to the charge and received the maximum youth sentence of four years in jail and three years of community supervision.
(The co-accused youth received a paltry sentence of time served (7 months) and three years of community supervision.)
Something tells me McLeod’s killer will be back before the courts before he ever exits his twenties. During his sentencing hearing the court learned that while incarcerated the youth was involved in over a dozen disciplinary incidents involving fights, threats and refusing to follow direction from corrections staff.
During one incident, he held Aggasiz Youth Centre guards at bay for nearly three hours while he flooded part of the prison range.
Some call it rehabilitation.
The Anthony Woodhouse Story – “I’m not down with anybody.”
On September 29, 2007, in the early morning hours, Anthony Woodhouse (29) was having a cigarette on the front porch of his mother’s Boyd Ave home when hardcore Indian Posse gangster Travis Personius (23) came calling.
As Woodhouse puffed on his cigarette Personius approached him and asked the fatal question, “Who you down with?”
Personius wasn’t acting on his own behalf, he was just a soldier carrying out orders delegated by IP gang leader Tyson Kane Roulette (24). His mission was to look for “haters” and deal with them.
(“Haters,” is gang speak for rival gang members.)
In 2007, Tyson Roulette emerged as a “shot caller” in the Indian Posse Street Gang, one of the most violent and dangerous street gangs in River City.
During this time, Roulette was believed to be a central figure in a number of shootings and gang related killings in the inner city. The motive for the escalating violence was believed to be directly connected to the gang’s volatile struggle to control turf and secure lucrative cocaine trafficking market share.
The deeper the investigations went the more clear the picture became, Tyson Roulette had the God complex and he had to be stopped.
“Sometimes the lion has to eat the gazelle,” a philosophical Roulette once told a gang investigator during a police interrogation. “That’s how it works in the jungle,” he explained.
“I’m not down with anybody,” a puzzled Anthony Woodhouse replied to the menacing stranger standing before him.
The fact Anthony Woodhouse was just a normal guy with no gang affiliations didn’t matter to Personius, his death warrant had been issued. Personius raised his gun and shot Woodhouse point-blank directly in the head killing him instantly.
It was a cowardly execution-style murder.
Woodhouse was found dead on the porch the next morning by his mother when she returned home from an overnight babysitting job.
“I’m still screaming inside,” his mother wrote in a victim impact statement. “I think of my son laying there helpless and I couldn’t help him.”
Personius and Roulette were both charged with 1st degree murder after a former high-ranking IP gang member turned informant blew the case wide open.
(A first degree murder conviction would mean a life sentence with no chance of parole for twenty-five (25) years.)
Personius followed suit and made a deal with Manitoba Justice to plead guilty to the reduced charge of 2nd degree murder with the understanding he would provide material evidence against the shot caller, Tyson Roulette.
The deal meant Personius would serve only fifteen (15) years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. (A ten (10) year discount off the 1st degree murder charge.)
When Roulette learned Personius turned on him he cut his losses and made his own deal pleading guilty to the reduced charge of Manslaughter for which he received a life sentence with no possibility of parole for ten (10) years.
Justice Doug Abra called the killing, “Needless and outrageous.”
“It simply goes to show how dangerous and hideous gang culture is in Winnipeg and how everything must be done humanly possible to stop it,” he stressed.
Some call it a “brotherhood.”
I call it the false promise.