Suspect arrested in cross-border manhunt has history of running from police

A suspect arrested during a cross-border manhunt following a fatal police shooting Wednesday has a history of leading officers on chases and stealing motor vehicles, according to court records.

David Frank Burling, 29, was arrested by RCMP officers Wednesday afternoon near the community of Springside, Sask., just northwest of the city of Yorkton following a manhunt in the southeast part of that province that started in Manitoba earlier in the day.

On Wednesday, Saskatchewan Mounties said Burling fled from incidents in Winnipeg and Niverville, Man. overnight.

Court records show he has a lengthy criminal record and that he’s run from police before, with five convictions for that offence. The most recent conviction stems from an incident in June 2022 in the Portage la Prairie area which he just finished serving time in custody for earlier this year.

A judge who agreed to a joint recommendation for a two-and-a-half-year sentence for the Portage incident was told during a court hearing it was normal behaviour for Burling.

A black pickup truck has yellow police tape on it
A truck is tarped off and wrapped in police tape at a Shell gas station in Niverville on Wednesday morning. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

In this latest incident another man, who was shot by Winnipeg police, was found dead at around 3 a.m. inside a black Ford-350 in a gas station parking lot in the area of Drovers Run in Niverville, where a woman was taken into custody. 

Winnipeg police said the shooting followed a pursuit that began when they got a report from RCMP of a stolen vehicle southwest of Winnipeg around 12:40 a.m. Shortly after, a Winnipeg police patrol unit spotted the stolen truck, a black Ford F-350, near Ness Avenue and Linwood Street, in west Winnipeg.

The police service’s helicopter tracked the vehicle for about an hour, before it ended up at a parking lot on College Crescent in Otterburne, in the Providence University College area, just south of Niverville. 

As a police cruiser entered the lot, it was rammed by the stolen vehicle, after which there was an “engagement” in which police fired their guns, and the suspects fled the scene in the truck, Winnipeg police said.

The police helicopter continued tracking their vehicle, following it to a parking lot on Drovers Run in Niverville, where the driver of the stolen truck got into another vehicle and drove off.

A map showing Springside, Sask., as well as locations in Manitoba: Winnipeg, Niverville, Otterburne.
Burling’s arrest in Springside, Sask., came after a police pursuit that included incidents in Winnipeg, Otterburne and Niverville, Man. (CBC Graphics)

Deputy Chief Art Stannard, acting chief of the Winnipeg Police Service, said officers have had contact in the past with the suspects.

Police didn’t say if or how the people in the truck knew each other. Neither RCMP or Winnipeg police provided the names of the woman arrested or the man killed in Niverville.

Burling shot by police during 2022 chase near Portage

Burling was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Manitoba time by Saskatchewan RCMP along with another woman who was with him in a silver vehicle which was stopped by officers. 

Police in Saskatchewan had been looking for Burling in a green 2016 Subaru CrossTrek earlier in the day.

“These arrests come after an extensive search that involved multiple Saskatchewan RCMP detachments and units, as well as the Manitoba RCMP, the protection and response team from the province of Saskatchewan and the CN Police,” Saskatchewan RCMP said in a news release.

The Mounties had said Wednesday they had no further information to provide.

Burling has had numerous run-ins with the law.

This past January, he was sentenced after pleading guilty to charges of flight from a peace officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, and two counts of theft of a motor vehicle

Court heard Burling stole an ATV from a business in Oak Bluff, and two ATVs and a trailer in Portage. He took off from police in a vehicle, leading officers on a long chase and colliding with one of their cruiser cars. He tried to get away again and police shot him. Burling kept driving until his car broke down and he was arrested.

He received his two-and-a-half-year sentence in January but only had around two months left to serve at that time, with credit for time served.

His lawyer at the time Matthew Raffey declined comment Wednesday.

Prior to that incident, Burling was sentenced in May 2020 to just over two years in custody for a slew of charges between April 2018 and February 2020 which also included flight from a peace officer and auto theft.