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Friday, 30 September 2011

Accused killer teen shows young face of Winnipeg gang war


18:08 |

 

Winnipeg's street-gang war took another tragic turn this week when police announced a 14-year-old boy is the suspected shooter in the city's 32nd homicide of 2011. The teenage is facing a first-degree murder charge in a homicide Sunday morning that police say was sparked by tension between rival gangs. David Michael Vincett, 20, was gunned down while walking on the city's Boyd Avenue around 3 a.m. Police arrested the 14-year-old suspect Tuesday evening. He has been detained at the Manitoba Youth Centre. He cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Const. Jason Michalyshen, spokesman for the Winnipeg Police Service, said police believe the homicide is tied to another recent killing. Clark Stevenson, 15, was stabbed to death as he rode his bike Sept. 10, in what police say was a gang-related confrontation. Days later, an 18-year-old man and 14-year-old boy were arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Before his death, Stevenson had boasted online about being a member of a local street gang. After the arrests, police acknowledged the homicide was motivated by gang tensions. "These groups appear to be in conflict with one another right now, and we're aware of that . . . and unfortunately we have two incidents where we have openly acknowledged that's the case," said Michalyshen. The boy accused of shooting Vincett was affiliated with gangs and may have had "similar associations" as Stevenson, police said. "These don't appear to be random acts, certain individuals appear to be targeted," Michalyshen said. He said before the shooting, Vincett and another teenager traded words about belonging to rival street gangs, before, it's alleged, a gun was pulled out and fired. Police said Vincett was dead by the time officers arrived. There was no indication the two knew each other before the shooting, police said. Michalyshen didn't describe Vincett as a gang associate, but did say "at the time he may have associated himself or verbalized that he was associated to a particular street gang." Winnipeg has had 10 more homicides this year than in all of 2010. On Wednesday, a woman whose own teenage son was shot to death 16 years ago said nothing has changed in the city since the day he died. Nancy Flett, the assistant executive director of the Indian Metis Friendship Centre, is also the mother of Joseph Beeper Spence, a 13-year-old who was slain in 1995. She said the violence in the city "sickens her." "People don't want to be out on the streets, people don't want to walk around on the streets. The only ones you see are a bunch of youth either on bikes, or people driving around," said Flett. "They just randomly go after people. They don't care if they're innocent or not, or if they're not connected in any way." She said society has to be concerned because "all the youth involved in gangs are getting to be younger and younger." Vincett's sister, Judith Ree, described him as a "good kid" in a message to the Winnipeg Free Press. Vincett, the father of a 10-month-old baby, had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. "He was the kind of person who would give the shirt off his back to keep (you) warm or his last five bucks to feed (you)," Ree said. "Everyone makes mistakes in life . . . he just wanted everyone to like him."


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