Surveillance video obtained by Global News shows a suspect firing a gun into the front door of a packed Corydon Avenue nightclub over the weekend.
Witnesses told Global News a man was being escorted out of Bar Italia by security staff shortly after midnight, and repeatedly tried to get back inside.
As bouncers held their ground, witnesses then reported seeing the man on his phone. Moments later, roughly a half-dozen shots rang out in the busy nightclub.
The surveillance video appears to show a male dressed in dark clothing pull out a gun and begin to walk back towards the bar’s front doors on Corydon Avenue. The suspect points the gun as several people who had been at the front doors scramble to get away.
The suspect casually points the gun towards the door and fires at least two shots into the doorway before walking out of the camera shot.
Carson Ransom was standing beside with a friend near the bar inside when the attack took place.
“I was at the bar getting drinks, and all of a sudden (our friend) came up to us and said there were shots fired,” he told Global News. “We went to the VLT area and hid for a minute.
“Everyone was hiding behind tables, and I looked around the corner and there were lights.”
Ransom says more than a dozen Winnipeg Police Service officers were on scene just a couple of minutes after the shooting.
By that time, the alleged assailant had made his way inside the bar, but Ransom said officers were able to wrestle him to the ground.
In a release Monday, police said a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy have each been charged with firearm-related offences.
‘Gun calls are a regular thing nowadays’
While the WPS wouldn’t add any more information about the weekend’s shooting, they did say there has been a general rise in gun crime over the past few years.
Stats from police show gun seizures in Winnipeg has remained fairly consistent over the last few years, but it’s still high compared to other cities.
In 2020, Winnipeg police seized 1,226 firearms – 754 of them were what police call crime guns, or guns that have been used in a crime.
That same year, Toronto police seized 1,844 firearms – 663 of which were crime guns.
Moe Sabourin, the president of the Winnipeg Police Association, said gun calls come through regularly even though the public might not be hearing about them.
“It’s only when the guns are discharged that the public really hears about it, but gun calls are a regular thing nowadays,” Sabourin said.
University of Winnipeg Criminal Justice Professor Michael Weinrath said many – if not most – of the gun crime incidents involve gangs.
“You do have to be a bit concerned sometimes that gangs tend to recruit violent individuals and sometimes very impulsive,” Weinrath said.
As part of the effort the fight gun crime, Insp. Elton Hall – the new head of the WPS Guns and Gangs unit – is investigating a potential new entry point for both guns and drugs.
“Ten or 15 years ago you might see illicit drugs or guns coming up the west coast and then being shipped east across Canada. Now you’re seeing it a lot of this coming central into Winnipeg,” Hall said.
Hall agrees that gangs are responsible for most of the city’s gun violence, but he said his unit is not involved in the investigation into the Bar Italia shooting.
–with files from Skylar Peters