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Police assure public ‘progress ongoing’ in multiple homicide investigations

Police say a person of interest has been identified in the city's most recent homicide on Shipley Street, the fourth homicide since the start of May

THUNDER BAY - In the last 30 days there have been numerous violent incidents in the city of Thunder Bay, including four homicides, and while such investigations are very resource-intensive for police, investigators say the Thunder Bay Police Service is up to the task and progress is being made on multiple investigations.

“I hope, and I take upon myself as a member of the community, comfort in the fact that these investigations are ongoing, progress is ongoing, arrests are being made and scenes are being released,” said Det. Insp. Jeremy Pearson with the criminal investigation branch of the Thunder Bay Police Service.

The most recent incidents under investigation include an aggravated assault on the 200 block of May Street Tuesday evening and a homicide on the 100 block of Shipley Street early Wednesday morning that claimed the life of a 19-year-old city man.

A 22-year-old Toronto man has been arrested in connection to the aggravated assault on May Street and Det. Sgt. Jason Rybak with the Thunder Bay Police Service said the victim is in the ICU at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and in stable condition.

A post-mortem examination is scheduled for the victim in the Shipley Street homicide Friday in Toronto and Rybak said investigators have been in contact with the family but are not able to release the man’s identity at this time.

Police continue to hold the scene at Shipley Street as well as another scene on the 200 block of Brock Street East.

“We believe the incident occurred at Shipley,” Rybak said. “Brock Street is related to the investigation. I can’t get into too much detail at this point and I don’t want to speculate on the evidence that might come from one or the other. The Brock Street residence is related to the incident that occurred and some individuals that may be involved.”

Rybak did say that homicide on Shipley Street is related to the drug trade in the city and not random in nature and confirmed that a weapon was used but could not provide further details.

“I cannot get into the details of that pending the post-mortem but some information is only known to our investigators,” he said.

Police have also identified a person of interest in the Shipley Street homicide investigation.

The incident on Shipley Street is the fourth homicide in the city since the start of May. The first incident occurred on Hodder Avenue on May 2 and claimed the life of 22-year-old Adrian Anthony Richardson. No arrests have been made in connection to the Hodder investigation but police have identified three suspects.

The second incident occurred on May 16 in the 200 block of Pearl Street where 41-year-old James Chapais was shot and killed. Police have charged 49-year-old James Halverson and 44-year-old Jaime Osmar with first-degree murder and a third suspect is still being sought.

On May 23, police responded to a residence on the 1400 block of Balmoral Street where an injured male was found. The man, later identified as 30-year-old Cody Bulmer, died as a result of his injuries and police released the names of two suspects, 44-year-old Josh Kakagemic, who has since surrendered to police on Tuesday and 36-year-old Daniel Blais who remains at large.

Pearson said none of the homicides are related to one another, but evidence shows some recent violent incidents are related to the illicit drug trade in the city

“I can say that in a number of the homicides and violent incidents, we have indication that the illicit drug trade is a factor,” he said. “There are others in which the exact nature of the interaction is still a matter of investigation.”

Each investigation stands alone and while such incidents can be very demanding on police resources, Pearson said the criminal investigation branch has a number of skilled and trained members who can assist.

“These scenes throughout have been well contained, witnesses have been identified at the scene, and we have hit the ground running with our major crimes team undertake their follow-up and start to take the lead on the investigation,” he said.

“It’s a matter of allocating resources and drawing upon the expertise we have outside of our devoted teams and managing the investigations on their own and based on the facts of each set of circumstances.”

If specialized assistance is required from outside organizations such as the Ontario Provincial Police, Pearson said investigators can and will reach out.

“However, I remain confident in the Thunder Bay Police Service and the units and people we have in place to address this situation and any in the future,” he said.   

Pearson added that he acknowledges concern in the community regarding a rapid succession of violent crimes in the city but he reiterated that the investigations remain active and progress is being made.

“I take the assurance in that and I believe the community should as well,” he said.

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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