17-year-old charged in month-long string of firearm related offences: Winnipeg police

A 17-year-old boy faces numerous charges in connection with a month-long string of firearm-related offences that started in late September, Winnipeg police say.

Early Thursday morning, police responded to a report of gunshots that were heard in the 500 block of Spence Street, close to Sargent Avenue, police said in a Saturday news release.

Officers found a man wearing a balaclava standing near the open rear door of a taxi parked in the middle of the road.

The man refused to follow the officer’s demands, and a Taser was used on him, police said.

A sawed off .22-calibre rifle and what police described as “an improvised firing device resembling a handgun” were found in the backseat of the taxi, alongside ammunition, according to the news release.

Officers also found a nearby residence had been shot several times while the resident, who was known to 17-year-old, was inside. No injuries were reported.

After an investigation by the services’ major crimes unit, police believe the teen was involved in several other firearm-related incidents over the past month.

Firearms, bear spray used in break-ins

The first was on Sept. 29, around 3:30 a.m., when a man in his 50s was shot and attacked with bear spray after a group of people forced their way into an apartment on the 400 block of Sherbrook Street, south of Sargent Avenue. That man was taken to hospital in critical condition and was later upgraded to stable, police say.

Around an hour later, the group forced their way into a residence on Westgrove Way in the far west side of the city, near the Perimeter and Roblin Boulevard, where a firearm was pointed at woman in her 30s while a demand was made for her property.

Bear spray was also used inside the house, affecting several people, including small children, police said in their Saturday news release

Earlier this month, police said an 18-year-old man had been arrested in connection with those break-ins and faced a variety of charges, including breaking and entering, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

The second incident police say the 17-year-old was involved in was on the evening of Oct. 11. A man in his 20s was driving on Alfred Avenue near MacGregor Street when a cyclist pulled out a sawed-off rifle and shot the front windshield of the man’s vehicle. The driver was not injured, police say.

Then, around 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 18, a sawed-off rifle was pointed at a taxi driver in the 300 block of Mountain Avenue, between Main and Salter streets. Police say a demand was made for the driver’s property.

The cab driver, a man in his 60s, attempted to drive away before he was shot at. The bullet struck the front passenger window and narrowly missed the driver, who was not injured, police say.

And on Thursday, shortly before 4 a.m., the door of an apartment suite on the 300 block of Mountain Avenue was shot several times. While the suite was occupied at the time of the shooting, there were no reported injuries.

Less than an hour later, a taxi picked up a fare in the same block of Mountain. As the cab drove away, the passenger took out a sawed-off rifle and fired it at a nearby apartment building, according to police.

The 17-year-old boy now faces numerous charges in connection with those incidents, including assault with a weapon, armed robbery using a firearm, aggravated assault, and three counts of discharging a firearm into or at a place in a reckless manner.

He has been detained in custody.

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