Winnipeg and Manitoba News Recap: January 2, 2024

In Winnipeg and Manitoba, several significant events marked the start of 2024. From police investigations to sporting achievements, the day was filled with noteworthy incidents.

Tragic End to a Mental Health Crisis

In a tragic turn of events, Afolabi Stephen Opaso, a 19-year-old Nigerian student, was fatally shot by Winnipeg police while experiencing a mental health crisis.

The incident, which occurred in an apartment in Fort Richmond, is being probed by the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba.

The community and Opaso’s family are urgently seeking clarity on why the situation escalated to such a deadly outcome.

Toddler’s Fentanyl Scare

A toddler’s life was put at risk after accidentally ingesting fentanyl in a North Point Douglas home.

Thanks to quick CPR actions and medical intervention using Narcan, the child’s condition stabilized. A 28-year-old man associated with the incident faces criminal negligence charges.

RCMP Officer Injured, Man Charged in Vehicle Incident

An RCMP officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries following a collision with a stolen vehicle in De Salaberry.

The suspect, a 30-year-old man from Grunthal, now faces multiple charges, including assaulting an officer. The incident led to the seizure of firearms and drugs.

Downtown Lounge Shooting

Early on New Year’s Day, a shooting incident at a downtown Winnipeg lounge on St. Mary Avenue resulted in a woman being hospitalized.

Although not the intended target, she suffered gunshot wounds and received prompt medical attention. The police’s Major Crimes Unit is currently investigating this case, with no arrests made so far.

Bus Fare Hike in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Transit’s annual fare adjustment took effect at the start of the new year, marking an increase in bus fares across various categories. Regular base fares have been raised from $3.15 to $3.25, affecting a significant portion of transit users. Similarly, fares for youth and senior citizens saw a bump, moving from $2.65 to $2.75.

This price hike also extends to Winnipeg Transit’s Peggo e-passes and paper passes. The cost for a 24-hour e-pass has increased from $10.35 to $10.75, while the five-day e-pass now costs $26.10, up from $25.20. Additionally, the seven-day pass, previously priced at $28, is now set at $29.

For those using paper tickets, the price has gone up from $2.80 to $2.90. Moreover, the cost for weekday paper passes has also seen an increase, from $25.20 to $26.10, and the superpass price has risen from $28 to $29.

This fare adjustment is part of Winnipeg Transit’s ongoing efforts to manage operational costs while continuing to offer reliable public transportation services to its users.

Water and Sewer Rate Increase Proposal

Winnipeg city officials are considering a significant increase in water and sewer rates over the next few years.

This proposal is intended to support multiple multi-million dollar infrastructure projects, including upgrades to the North End Treatment Plant, and to address financial and environmental sustainability concerns.

Jets’ Winning Streak Continues

The Winnipeg Jets continued their impressive performance with a 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay, extending their point streak to nine games. This achievement equals a franchise record set back in 2005.

Key players like Connor Hellebuyck, who was recently honored as the NHL’s third star of the month, played pivotal roles in securing this win.

Manitoba’s Gas Tax Holiday Commences

January 1 marked the beginning of Manitoba’s six-month gas tax holiday, offering relief to motorists at the pumps. While the initiative is welcomed by many, it has also sparked debates about long-term environmental impacts and the need for more sustainable transportation solutions.

Manslaughter Charge After Assault in Winnipeg

A 30-year-old Winnipeg man has been charged with manslaughter following the death of Floyd Flett, 59. Flett, who was assaulted on Dec. 9 near the Disraeli Freeway, died from his injuries on Dec. 26.

After his death, the suspect was taken into custody and charged.

IIU Investigating Off-Duty RCMP Officer in Hit and Run

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba is conducting an investigation into a hit and run incident involving an off-duty RCMP officer.

The incident, which occurred in Nelson House on Dec. 30, 2023, involved the officer’s vehicle colliding with a pedestrian. The officer, from a different Manitoba detachment, is the subject of this investigation.

Warrants Issued for Ebb and Flow Armed Robbery and Assault

Manitoba RCMP have issued arrest warrants for Braden Moar, 27, and Mason Moar, 19, in relation to an armed robbery and assault at Ebb and Flow First Nation.

The incident, involving five armed suspects, resulted in the assault of four individuals and the theft of a pickup truck.

Crisis Unit’s Extended Hours and New Year’s Eve Shooting

Winnipeg police have indicated that even with the extended hours of the Alternative Response to Citizens in Crisis (ARCC) program, it might not have prevented the fatal New Year’s Eve shooting.

The ARCC program, pairing police with mental health workers, is expanding to cover weekends but was not operational at the time of Afolabi Stephen Opaso’s shooting.

Devastating Fire in Northern Manitoba Community

A tragic fire on New Year’s Day in Moose Lake led to the destruction of five houses. The blaze is believed to have been deliberately set.

Complications with the local fire truck, which was immobilized due to freezing, delayed firefighting efforts. The community, deeply affected by the loss, is receiving aid from the Red Cross.

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