August 1, 2014 1:12 pm

Family says deadly Winnipeg standoff could have ended peacefully

Andrew Baryluk died during a police standoff at his Winnipeg home.

Family handout/Global News

WINNIPEG – Relatives of a man who died after a standoff and shootout with police are angry about how police handled the crisis, saying it could have ended peacefully.

Andrew Baryluk, 52, was found dead inside a home on Stella Ave. Thursday morning after a 17-hour standoff that included an exchange of gunfire with officers, the evacuation of nearby homes and power cut to part of the North End neighbourhood.

Baryluk’s sister-in-law told Global News Friday that her husband, Andrew’s brother Bill, could have talked the troubled man into surrendering.

“This is what pisses us off is why didn’t [police] ask us to go down there and talk to him, why did they have to do that?” Colleen Baryluk said. “Because Bill would have been able to talk him out of there.”

Police did call them during the standoff, but didn’t allow them to go to the scene, she said.

It’s not yet known if Baryluk was killed by a police bullet or died by his own hand. Officers found his body in the house early Thursday morning.

Police surround a home at Stella Avenue and Powers Street on Wednesday.

Jordan Pearn / Global News

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Court documents show Andrew Baryluk had been ordered to leave his home at 512 Stella Ave. earlier this month.

His mother’s will gave each of her children a one-fifth stake in the property after her death 10 years ago.

Baryluk resided there, paying $240 rent to his brother John, who looked after the house. However, John decided it no longer made financial sense to keep the house, and put it up for sale.

Baryluk tried to fight it at the Residential Tenancy Board, writing in an affidavit that it was his understanding he had a “life lease” on the home. Police were called there at 10:45 Wednesday morning for a report of a “distraught male” who may be armed and threatening to harm himself.

Colleen Baryluk said Andrew had lived in the house his whole life, including a decade caring for his mother when she suffered from dementia.

Andrew Baryluk lived in this house at 512 Stella Ave.

Global News

He was unemployed, disabled due to back pain and lived off welfare, Colleen Baryluk said. He had planned to die in the house.

“Too soon and sadly he died in his own home, original plan completed,” she said, adding he will be missed. “He was bigger than life — his personality, his gregariousness, his sense of humour.”

Colleen Baryluk said she doesn’t know what kind of firearm Andrew had, or where he got it.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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