It’s the question which routinely gnaws at most acts of horrific violence anywhere, and one police investigators and prosecutors often foist themselves on while trying to resolve cases, make arrests and bring criminals to justice.
The callous April 2 broad-daylight murder of Nigel Dixon, 20, in the 500 block of Langside Street is no different. A woman he was with was also shot, but thankfully survived.
Police have said the two were approached and shot after being approached by a group of gang members and asked what gang affiliation they had. When they denied any gang ties, they were shot, and Dixon killed.
Again: In broad daylight, not far from a busy street (Ellice). It’s beyond chilling. It’s absolutely reprehensible.
While I’m tempted to get into a diatribe — a useless one, no doubt — about how there’s been little to no public condemnation of such a horrific act from our political leaders in the wake of the shootings, I’ve learned by now it will simply fall on deaf ears.
A rant put down to more whinging about a problem many in power in this province simply can’t publicly admit even exists.
But I can offer maybe a glimmer of information about the atmosphere in the immediate inner-city/Spence neighbourhood/West End area in the weeks prior to Dixon’s death.
There’s a bona fide street gang war going on over drug turf. And it’s not sticks and stones being used to fight it.
And the gangsters behind it are nervous and on edge.
Here’s one theory why:
Tuesday, a 23-year-old “entrenched” Manitoba Warriors member was denied bail on several weapons charges.
He’s been in since Feb. 19, when police in the Street Crimes Unit nabbed him while near a home in the 500 block of Furby — pretty much right near where Dixon was shot weeks later, just a block and a half over.
He’s accused of transporting a sawed-off shotgun (and several shells of ammo) in a duffel bag to that home, described as a “well-known” “crack shack.”
The crack house used to belong to the Mad Cowz street gang, but around the time of the arrest cops got some interesting, and no doubt concerning, information: “The Manitoba Warriors has taken control over this crack shack and would be arming themselves to prevent retaliation from the Mad Cowz,” the Crown told court.
When arresting the MW member (he’s only accused and not convicted so I won’t name him here), he told police the gun “was for protection against rival gang members,” Judge Judith Elliott was told.
A few weeks later, Dixon, an innocent (and his female friend) are shot by gangsters suspicious about their affiliation a block over. It’s entirely probable one of the two gangs — scared at potentially losing more crack turf to the other — is out conducting “sweeps” in the area in hopes of either gaining or not losing more ground.
Ask yourself why Phil Haiart, another innocent, was shot and killed years back, along with a man he was out walking at the time, not far from where the most recent shootings took place.
It was Jeff Cansanay and Corey Spence of the African Mafia firing rounds off at then-rival Mad Cowz gangsters near their McGee St. crack house after several other attacks on the place in the days and hours prior.
Today, a source was telling me there’s been several other “Who you reppin?” — style incidents in the West End, ones where people are approached by a pack and questioned about affiliations.
The animals are restless and nervous, folks. Hope it doesn’t get worse as the weather heats up. Because the temperature in the West End (as usual?) is already pretty hot right now.