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Officer-involved shootings not a cause for panic, says Winnipeg criminologist

Officer-involved shootings not a cause for panic, says Winnipeg criminologist
A Winnipeg criminologist says two officer-involved shootings in one week has caught his attention, but not enough to sound the alarm.

A Winnipeg criminologist says two officer-involved shootings in one week has caught his attention, but not enough to sound the alarm.

On the evening of Jan. 9, police fired at a suspect’s fleeing vehicle, sending a 23-year-old man to hospital. Two nights later, police shot and killed a 24-year-old man allegedly carrying a weapon.

“It’s certainly striking when we hear about two officer involved shootings in about one week,” said Frank Cormier, head of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Manitoba.

READ MORE: Winnipeg man angry with police for shooting at suspects, endangering himself, daughter

Although the shootings may have grabbed a lot of attention, Cormier insists there’s no reason to panic.

“This is a very small sample,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a trend starting or this is an increase we would expect to see continue.”

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“At the same time it is something I believe we should keep an eye on.”

READ MORE: Manitoba friends, family identify woman shot dead by Calgary police Christmas morning

In 2017, the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) looked into five officer-related shootings, two of which were fatal, involving Winnipeg police. That number dropped in 2018 to just one officer-related shooting, according to the province’s police watchdog.

As the two 2019 shootings are still under investigation, the Winnipeg Police Service cannot comment on either incident.