Winnipeg and Manitoba ushered in the new year with a range of events and developments, from community festivities to significant police incidents. Here’s a summary of the key stories from January 1, 2024.
New Year’s Day Celebrations at The Forks
The Forks, a central gathering place in Winnipeg, hosted a special New Year’s Day event.
Departing from the traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations, this year’s activities were held during the day, drawing thousands of residents.
The festivities included music, storytelling, ice skating, crafts, and a unique drag show. This change, aimed at providing family-friendly programming, was well-received by the community.
The Forks plans to continue hosting various events throughout January and February as part of Winnipeg’s 150th-anniversary celebrations.
Police Investigate Homicide on Flora Avenue
The Winnipeg Police Service is investigating a suspected homicide after finding 20-year-old Brooklyn Elijah Hiebert dead outside a church on Flora Avenue.
Known to frequent the North End and Lord Selkirk Park neighborhoods, Hiebert had struggled with drug addiction and possible gang affiliations.
Authorities are seeking information about his recent interactions and any relevant surveillance footage from the area.
Officer-Involved Shooting in Fort Richmond and Family’s Search for Answers
A tragic event occurred in Fort Richmond when Afolabi Stephen Opaso, a 19-year-old international student from Nigeria, was fatally shot by police.
The officers were responding to a call about a man behaving erratically and armed with knives. The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba has taken over the case.
Opaso’s family is now seeking clarity on the circumstances that led to the shooting, particularly questioning the necessity of using lethal force.
Bystander Wounded in Shooting at Winnipeg Hookah Lounge
An unexpected incident at the One XVII Lounge in downtown Winnipeg resulted in a bystander being injured.
Following an altercation between two groups, a shot was fired, and the bullet hit a bystander after ricocheting. The individual was hospitalized in stable condition.
Winnipeg police are investigating the shooting.
Manitoba’s Temporary Gas Tax Holiday Commences
In a significant move to alleviate financial pressures, Manitoba initiated a temporary gas tax holiday starting January 1.
The six-month suspension of the provincial 14-cent-a-litre tax on gasoline and diesel is expected to save the average Manitoba family approximately $250.
This measure, introduced by the NDP during the election campaign, aims to assist residents with the rising cost of living.