An annual bush party for recent graduates turned into a major crime scene over the weekend, after a teen was stabbed in a remote area of Winnipeg’s Charleswood neighbourhood.
Winnipeg police say they arrived at Community Row and Wilkes Avenue shortly after 12:39 a.m. Saturday after learning of a stabbing.
Officers didn’t immediately find anyone there, but after driving two kilometres down Community Row’s gravel road, a group of teens flagged them down, WPS Const. Jay Murray said at a Monday press conference.
Two officers, equipped with medical supplies, trekked with them through about a kilometre of heavy bush and muddy terrain to get to the 18-year-old victim, who was seriously injured with stab wounds.
“I can tell you they were quite severe,” Murray said.
The pair stabilized the young man using bandages and chest seals with the help of emergency medical personnel and more police officers, before taking turns carrying him back to an ambulance on Community Row, he said.
“Our officers were told when they arrived at the hospital that had those attempts to stabilize not occurred, this would have been a homicide.”
Fortunately, the young man has since been upgraded from critical to stable condition, Murray said.
It’s one of many stabbings involving youth in recent weeks, although the number of violent crimes using this type of weapon is on the rise in adults and teens alike, he said.
Last year, the city counted nearly 1,200 knife-related incidents compared to 470 involving guns.
Experts say the former is the most commonly used weapon in youth crime, and accessibility may be a contributing factor.
“Since the late ’90s or early 2000s, Winnipeg has had a notorious reputation for being the city with the highest rate for violent crime involving a knife,” University of Winnipeg’s Kelly Gorkoff told Global News on Monday.
“Most people in those kinds of marginalized situations, especially young people, are going to have knives with them as a form to protect themselves,” Gorkoff, chair of the university’s criminal justice department, said.
“Now, they’re being used in, I think, a much more public kind of way,” she said. “It’s much more visible.”
Major Crimes Unit is speaking with a number of witnesses who were there in the early hours of Saturday morning and is making progress in the case, Murray said.
However, no arrests have been made.
Winnipeg police is asking anyone with information to contact them or Crime Stoppers.
— with files from Marney Blunt