WINNIPEG — Two First Nations sisters are among four people who died in a shooting over the weekend in downtown Winnipeg.
Officers were called shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday to a home where they found five people wounded. A man and woman were pronounced dead at the scene, and another man and woman died later in hospital. A 55-year-old man remains in hospital in critical condition.
On Monday, police identified those killed as: Crystal Beardy, 34; her sister Stephanie Beardy, 33; Melelek Lesikel, 29; and Dylan Lavallee, 41.
“Our hearts go out to these families and the community," said Insp. Jennifer McKinnon.
The sisters are from Lake St. Martin First Nation, north of Winnipeg.
"Lake St. Martin has lost two members of their community … We have reached out to the family and leadership to offer community support," said McKinnon.
Chief Chris Traverse said he was with Beverley Beardy on Sunday when she found out her daughters were killed.
Traverse and workers in his community, including Beverley Beardy, were on a staff retreat on the weekend when the mother got the call. The chief drove her to Winnipeg and has been with the family ever since.
"She's very hurt. She's emotionally hurt right now," Traverse said in an interview.
"It's just hard on the community as a whole and each member feels the pain that Beverley is feeling."
Traverse has known the family for 14 years. He said this isn't the first time Beverley has had to grieve the loss of a child. Two other daughters have died within the past six years.
The leader last spoke with Stephanie Beardy on Friday. She was excited to leave Lake St. Martin for a visit in the city with her nephews.
"No one knows when something like this is going to happen," said Traverse.
Police have also been in touch with Lesikel's family who lives in Kenya and the United States, as well as Lavallee's family in Winnipeg.
No arrests have been made and police have yet to determine if there was one shooter or multiple. Police asked anyone in the neighbourhood to check their video surveillance cameras.
Police Chief Danny Smyth said he understands the shooting is "a shock to the community" and may cause concern and fear.
"We will do everything that we can to discover why this happened and who was involved," he told reporters.
"This is a dangerous offender in my view, and we must do everything that we can to identify that person."
Smyth added the shootings are likely an isolated event, as police haven't received any other reports of similar violence.
Much of the street was blocked off by yellow police tape on Sunday afternoon, with officers posted on either side of the taped-off section. As of the next morning, the street was opened except for a small perimeter around the multi-unit house, which was still taped off.
Marked patrol cars were stationed in front of the home and parked in the back lane on Monday.
It's still early in the investigation and officers are expected to be at the scene for the better part of this week, said Smyth.
"It’s not like a television program. It’s not going to be over in an hour," he said.
Premier Wab Kinew recognized safety is a concern in the city and many may be shaken.
"When a situation like this happens in our city and in our province, the response has to be with law enforcement," he said Monday at an unrelated event.
"The response has to be with the administration of justice and holding people accountable. And, so we're working with our partners to so just that."
Police say there have been 38 homicides in this city so far this year.
— With files from Steve Lambert.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2023.
Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press