Winnipeg drive-by shooting connected with extortion, shootings in Alberta: Edmonton police

A drive-by shooting in northwest Winnipeg last Christmas Eve is connected with a rash of extortion incidents and two other shootings targeting home builders in the Edmonton area, according to police in that city.

Canada-wide warrants have been issued for a man wanted in the Dec. 24, 2023, shooting in Winnipeg and two others in Alberta, Edmonton Police Service Staff Sgt. Eric Stewart said during a media conference on Tuesday.

“They’re purposely targeting master bedrooms where people are occupied, sleeping.… Kids are in these residences,” Stewart said during an update on what police have dubbed Project Gaslight — a probe into incidents targeting South Asian home builders in Edmonton.

“They don’t know who’s inside these residences when they start firing rounds at these houses. Very scary, very brazen and very careless.”

Police allege the shootings have been carried out by a group in Edmonton who are being directed by someone in India.

“There is an individual orchestrating and directing young men in our city to carry out these acts,” Stewart said.

“And what I can say is that, in my opinion, they’re being exploited to carry out these acts and someone who is not in this country is benefiting from that.”

Surveillance video captured on Dec. 24 appears to show the shooting in Winnipeg.

At around 8:45 p.m, a black SUV is seen approaching a home in the city’s northwest, and eight shots can be heard in the video before the SUV drives away. 

Edmonton police said the home was occupied by several family members. No one was injured, but one bullet narrowly missed a person inside and passed through a wall into an adjacent room, Edmonton police say.

Officers in Edmonton said the black SUV had no front licence plate, and they’re looking for more information about the vehicle.

They say the shooting was in the area of Winnipeg’s Meadows West and Maples neighbourhoods, but declined to provide a more exact location.

WATCH | Police release surveillance footage of Winnipeg shooting:

Edmonton police release surveillance footage of drive-by shooting in Winnipeg

Shots were fired at a home in northwest Winnipeg on Dec. 24, 2023, according to Edmonton police. They believe the shooting is linked to a rash of extortion incidents on home builders in that city. Police said no one was hurt in the Winnipeg shooting, but one bullet travelled barely missed a person inside.

Winnipeg police referred all requests for comment to police in Edmonton. Officers in Winnipeg have not responded to a question from CBC about why they did not previously notify the public about the drive-by shooting in Winnipeg.

Stewart said the shooting in Winnipeg followed a similar shooting in Edmonton in the early morning hours of Dec. 21, 2023, in the city’s Cy Becker neighbourhood.

Shots were fired at an upstairs bedroom window of a home where the homeowners were sleeping, according to Edmonton police. Four other people, including two children, were also sleeping in the home at the time of the shooting.

A man is pictured looking at the camera for a head shot photo.
Arjun Sahnan, 19, is wanted by Edmonton police on Canada-wide warrants in connection to three shootings, including one in Winnipeg, that investigators believe are part of a rash of extortion cases on South Asian home builders. (Submitted by Edmonton Police Service)

In both the Edmonton and Winnipeg shootings, Edmonton police said the homeowner was extorted for money and threatened prior to the shooting.

Stewart said the owner of the Winnipeg home that was shot at has connections to a home builder in Edmonton.

Edmonton police said there was a third incident in the early morning hours of Dec. 29, 2023, when shots were fired at a home in Sherwood Park, just east of Edmonton. No one was in the home at the time, but a bullet went through a window into a children’s playroom and struck a toybox.

The homeowner wasn’t threatened or extorted beforehand in that case, police said.

“We believe this shooting was directed at the wrong house,” Stewart said. 

Warrants out for suspect now believed to be India 

Arjun Sahnan, 19, is now wanted on Canada-wide warrants by Edmonton police for all three shootings, including the one in Winnipeg, Stewart said.

“After the Edmonton shooting, Sahnan allegedly booked a flight to India, committed the Winnipeg and Sherwood Park shootings, and then fled the country,” Stewart said. “As far as we know, he is now in India.”

Sahnan was previously arrested on five firearms possession charges during a vehicle stop on Dec. 30, after the three shooting incidents, but he was released, Stewart said.

“I strongly urge him to come back to Canada to face his charges,” Stewart said. “Regardless of whether he complies, we know who he is, and fleeing to another country will not stop us from attempting to locate him.”

Edmonton police are also looking for tips regarding a second suspect connected with the Winnipeg shooting. They released an image from a surveillance video showing that person.

A man is shown in surveillance footage in what appears to be a convenience store.
Edmonton police said they are looking for this person, who is also a suspect in the Winnipeg drive-by shooting. (Submitted by Edmonton Police Service )

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *