Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Family of young man killed by police demands answers

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Afolabi Stephen Opaso, 19 years old and a student from Nigeria was shot and killed by Winnipeg police last Sunday.

Radio- Canada

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The family of Afolabi Stephen Opaso, who was shot and killed by police in Winnipeg on Sunday, is searching for answers. The deceased was an international student from Nigeria at the University of Manitoba.

The Winnipeg Police Service says the incident occurred at an apartment on University Crescent shortly before 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Police officers received a call regarding a man behaving erratically.

Upon arrival, officers encountered a man who was armed with two knives. An officer shot him. Taken to hospital in critical condition, the 19-year-old man succumbed to his injuries.

According to his family, Afolabi Stephen Opaso was going through a mental health crisis at the time of the incident.

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The first thing to do is to know if the shot was necessary, because if it was to disarm the person, the shot was fire necessary?, wonders Jean-René Dominique Kwilu, a lawyer who is in contact with the family and assists them.

Mr. Kwilu said it was not immediately clear what prompted police to shoot the young man.

At this point, what's shocking is to get to this fatal shooting, he said.

The Winnipeg Police Service says the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) has been informed of the situation and an investigation has been initiated.

As soon as there is a death [the investigation] is no longer our responsibility, said Danny Smyth, adding that the police did not know much about the man deceased.

I think we had contact with him last July where we helped him by accompanying him. He has no other history with us, and certainly no criminal record, emphasizes Danny Smyth.

According to the police, two other people, a 19-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man, were present and appeared to know the victim.

For the moment, indicates the police, it is still impossible to specify whether the man killed was a resident or a visitor of the apartment.

The call to the police was made by a person in the suite, police maintain, adding that it is not of a hostage taking. It is not yet possible to indicate whether the victim had attacked the police, says the Winnipeg Police Service.

The two other people who were in the suite are safe and sound and are now considered witnesses, specifies Danny Smyth.

According to data from the Winnipeg police, there were six officer-involved shootings in 2022, three of which resulted in deaths. This is the second officer-involved shooting in Winnipeg in a week. Last Thursday, a man was shot and killed by police during a hostage situation in the West Broadway neighborhood.

M . Smyth said the two incidents were different events and circumstances.

It is clear that there is no link between the two, but we answer thousands of calls every week and we make do with what we have, he maintains.

With information from Özten Shebahkeget

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