Tuesday, October 19, 2010

99 per cent of a young killer

About a million years ago, when I was in grade eight, a kid from my area was fatally stabbed by another teenager, while he was hanging out with a large group of friends one summer night. -- I have to point out that I didn't know the victim or the killer, but the impact of this incident was a profound one on my small circle of junior high friends. (Especially the ones that were there, the night the victim was killed. Horror stories of 13 and 14-year-olds cradling the dying boy in their arms, while waiting for paramedics to arrive haunted many of us for years.)

The story goes like this...

One summer night, a bunch of kids from Grant Park and River Heights Jr. High schools planned to have a bush party (probably at Omands Creek, because that's where all the bush parties happened for the Grant Park and River Heights kids.)

The group of kids met around Grant Park School that night, and sometime (while the lot of them were together) some kind of altercation ensued between a few of them and two other boys from a different area, who were not a part of the Grant Park/River Heights group.

(Yes, I understand that my last paragraph was a vague run-on sentence, but my brain has a hard time articulating what really happened back then because all I remember is thinking that the boy who was killed had been an innocent victim of the other boy; a cold-blooded killer. It was extremely emotional experience to all of us back then. I have no idea what really transpired...)

Anyway, what came next was beyond tragic for everybody involved; apparently, after the altercation, the group of Grant Park/River Heights kids started following the two boys (for reasons I am not sure of.) They followed them through Grant Park Mall, through Woolco, and eventually down Mulvey St., where the two boys stopped and a fight was about to take place.

Before the fight happened though, one of the boys pulled out a knife and stabbed one of the Grant Park/River Heights kids in the chest. The bleeding kid fell to the ground and the two boys ran away. Laying in the arms of his friends and wrapped in a blood-soaked jacked, the young teenaged boy bled to death, right there on Mulvey St.

It was tragic.

In the following days after the boy was killed, I remember the news coverage being pretty extensive: A young teenage boy was stabbed to death in the south end of the city. That wasn't normal. Furthermore, the teenaged killer apparently stole the murder weapon from a Woolco store, right before the incident happened on Mulvey St.

It was sensational, the press couldn't write about this tragedy fast enough...

And then a few days after the murder, after the dead boy had been buried and an emotional retaliation had been promised by friends of the slain boy, The Winnipeg Sun posted a picture of the teenage killer on the cover of the paper with little more than a tiny black bar covering his eyes, to supposedly shield his identity.

It was unusually candid, and outraged all parties involved.

Now, like I've already pointed out, I can't articulate this story very well, given that I was a young and extremely biased teenager when it happened. (I automatically assumed that the murder was done in cold blood. I never even gave a second thought to the possibility that the young killer was also probably extremely frightened by the fact that he was out-numbered by the group of kids that were following him. -- I am not trying to justify the murder, because it's a shame, but I am just saying that in my young eyes, the killer was the antagonist in this situation...)

Either way, the picture of the young killer caught a lot of backlash, because the Sun was accused of going too far in publishing 99 per cent of an image of the young killer.

I've tried to Google the story, to no avail. Perhaps I still have old clippings of this murder in a shoe box somewhere...Either way, it was a strange experience all around, and it's bizarre to look back all these years later with my journalist hat on.


  1. I remember this incident as well. It happened in 1992 when I had just moved to Winnipeg to attend university and the murder was very near where I lived. It is a tragic story.

  2. I remember the incident as well. I remember reading later that the kid acted in self-defense because he and his friend were being followed, taunted, and threatened. It then sounded like a'bully incident' that ended tragically. In the 1990's incidents such as those got hyped as teen violence...a common theme in the 1990's. I wonder how it this incident would be portrayed in today's media...with all the hype and sensation about bullying. Regardless, it was a tragic situation with tragic outcomes for everyone.