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Off-duty officers assaulted confronting suspected thieves: Winnipeg police

Three men are facing charges after police say two off-duty officers were assaulted while trying to stop a group of alleged thieves Thursday. Global News

Three men are facing charges after police say two off-duty officers were assaulted while trying to stop a group of suspected thieves at a Winnipeg retailer Thursday.

An off-duty officer was in a store at the Unicity Mall shopping complex around noon when he saw an employee chasing a man carrying merchandise out of the store, joining two other men already outside with merchandise, police said Friday.

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Police say the officer identified himself as police and told the men to stop, but one pulled out a can of bear spray as they fled to a nearby bus stop.

A second off-duty officer joined in as the three suspects boarded a bus in an effort to escape.

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Police say the suspects began assaulting the officers as they tried to stop them, throwing rocks at the officers and discharging bear spray.

The three suspects were eventually arrested when general patrol officers arrived at the scene.

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Three men aged 19, 23 and 24 are facing a number of charges, including assault with a weapon and assaulting a peace officer.

Police say the two off-duty officers were put through decontamination procedures due to the bear spray but were otherwise uninjured.

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