‘Everyone here is impacted’ by double homicide in Minegoziibe Anishinabe, chief says

A small community is grieving the loss of two band members in a double homicide that spurred a lockdown Monday morning. 

Winnipegosis RCMP received a report around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday that shots were fired on the west road in Minegoziibe Anishinabe, also known as Pine Creek First Nation, located on the southwestern shore of Lake Winnipegosis. 

Officers provided emergency medical services to a 34-year-old injured man who died at the scene, RCMP said in a news release on Monday. Officers determined the man’s death to be a homicide. 

RCMP then found a 52-year-old deceased woman in the same area as the homicide victim at 4:30 a.m. on Monday. 

Officers identified a suspect and at 5:25 a.m., the 19-year-old man “was contained in a residence in the community,” according to the RCMP release. Shots were fired at RCMP from the residence, but no officers were physically injured. 

RCMP said the suspect tried to leave on an off-road vehicle, but he was arrested and remains in police custody. No charges have been laid at this time, the release said.

‘Everyone here is impacted’

Minegoziibe Anishinabe Chief Derek Nepinak told CBC that the community with roughly 1,500 members was in a lockdown early Monday morning, which included businesses and the school. 

“The families involved are two longtime, central families to our community,” Nepinak said. 

“Everyone here is impacted because it happened in such a public space.”

It was a very difficult and scary situation and that there were people who witnessed and responded to the aftermath of the incident, he said. 

Nepinak said he could not name who the victims are or whether the victims were known to the suspect.

Before lunch, the community had approximately eight counsellors from the West Region Treaty 2 and 4 Crisis Response and Crisis Counselling service, he said. 

These counsellors are available for walk-in or scheduled appointments at the Pine Creek Health Office or for home-visits. People on and off the reserve can contact the Pine Creek health office at 204-524-3000. 

“We have a lot of people here to help deal with the trauma of the incident, but everybody’s impacted here at home and abroad — we’ve got a lot of members off reserve,” Nepinak said. 

Counsellors will be available to provide any mental health support to children at the Minegoziibe Anishinabe School tomorrow, Nepinak said. 

For the safety and well-being of the families, the Minegoziibe Anishinabe chief and council are asking the public not to share social media videos or photos of any content related to the tragedy, they said in a news release. 

RCMP are continuing to investigate through the Manitoba RCMP Major Crime Unit, Dauphin Forensic Identification Services and Manitoba RCMP Forensic Collision.