May 17, 2018 7:24 pm
Updated: May 17, 2018 10:28 pm

Winnipeg police chief recounts 2015 bombings that put city ‘on edge’

Winnipeg Police Service Supt. Danny Smyth talks to the media during an availability in Winnipeg on Sunday, July 5, 2015. Police in Winnipeg say they a have man in custody in connection with a bomb that seriously injured a lawyer in the city.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve Lambert/file
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Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said the public was shocked when news broke of a series of letter bombs that were delivered to three businesses across the city.

In July of 2015, Smyth wasn’t yet police chief, but was the superintendent at the time of the bombings and told 680 CJOB on Thursday that it struck a sense of fear in the community.

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“People were a little bit on edge because they didn’t have enough information, everything became suspicious and there was a real hyper-vigilance in the community. I don’t remember the exact count now, but it was dozens, and dozens of suspicious packages,” he said.

READ MORE: Guido Amsel guilty on 4 counts of attempted murder

On Thursday Guido Amsel was found guilty of 15 out of 19 charges, including four counts of attempted murder for a 2013 explosion at his ex-wife’s home as well as three packages sent in the summer of 2015 to his ex-wife and two law offices.

Smyth said investigators knew early on who their suspect was.

“Initially the risk of the unknown but we were quickly able to zero in,” he said. “[We] needed to get out quickly to try to put some reassurance into the community that it wasn’t just this random thing happening.”

Smyth expects there to be an appeal process.

READ MORE: ‘Guido didn’t do it’: friend of convicted letter-bomber on guilty verdict

But for some in the legal community, they’re satisfied, like lawyer Victor Bargen who works at 280 Stradbrook Ave., where one of the bombs was sent.

“We’re pleased, I think the judge was very thorough in her summary,” he said.

WATCH: Lawyer Victor Bargen speaks about the bombings and Judge Lord’s verdict

Bargen hopes the verdict brings some closure to the legal community, but he believes his colleagues don’t feel as secure as they once did.

“No one, based on this last incident, should feel really safe at work,” he said. “I’m not saying that to be an alarmist or to frighten people, but we always think this can happen in other places. Well, it can happen here too and it did.”

He said Maria Mitousis, the lawyer who lost her right hand in one of the blasts, remains an inspiration for Winnipeg’s legal community.

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