Edward Siwicki was on the way to the store when he saw the officers and police tape — and spattered blood on the road.
On Wednesday at about 2:30 p.m., just down the block from Siwicki’s rental house on the 500 block of Sherbrook Street, two suspects attacked a man in his 20s with a “hatchet-type weapon,” stealing his bicycle before fleeing police on foot.
Several 911 callers reported the man was being attacked with an ax or a hammer, police said Thursday. The victim was taken to hospital in critical condition; he’s since been upgraded to stable.
After a short chase, officers arrested two men a block away on Maryland Street.
Sherbrook Street near Ellice Avenue was taped off through the afternoon. Police said they had not found the weapon believed used in the attack, but officers did seize brass knuckles from one of the two accused and recovered the stolen bicycle.
“The big yellow ribbon and the blood on the street… all yellow, all around,” Siwicki, 71, said of what he saw as he exited his home.
The attack wasn’t random, police said.
“It appears they were acquaintances of some type — but we aren’t sure of the extent,” Winnipeg Police Service Const. Jay Murray told the Free Press.
On Thursday, large pools and drops of blood marked with blue police chalk remained in front of 522 Sherbrook St. Soapy water remained on the sidewalk in front of the apartment building’s stoop.
Siwicki, who’s lived on Sherbrook Street for nine months and makes a living fixing and installing flooring, said he’s been victim to more than a dozen break-and-enters since he’s rented the house. He’s moving in two weeks. His last apartment was also in the West End, on Beverley Street. He left that place, he said, because the crime was even worse.
“I’m scared to walk around, even,” Siwicki said.
At the corner of Ellice Avenue and Maryland Street, a half-block south from where the two accused were arrested, a former convenience store sits empty, boarded up. Across Ellice to the south, an old pawn shop, too, has plywood over its windows and door, boasting a “For Lease” sign.
A 77-year-old woman who has long lived nearby said she didn’t notice the heavy police presence Wednesday afternoon, as she cleaned her front yard with her granddaughter. But it didn’t surprise her.
“All the time there’s police here,” said Fely, who declined to give her surname.
However, she likes the neighbourhood: it’s a central location and she ran a hair salon on Ellice Avenue for 17 years.
But Fely only cleans the yard when she’s with someone else, and she keeps the gate locked. She stopped walking alone, north to the grocery store at Sherbrook Street and Sargent Avenue, or south to the McDonald’s on Portage Avenue.
“Even in daylight — (criminals) don’t care now,” she said.
Bradley Kenneth Jones, 32, of Winnipeg, is charged with robbery, aggravated assault, three counts of possessing a prohibited weapon contrary to prohibition order and two counts of failing to comply with release order conditions.
Larry Dumas, 25, of Winnipeg, is charged with robbery, aggravated assault and failing to comply with release order conditions.
Both were detained in custody and are set to appear in bail court Friday.