A 16-year-old First Nations boy is in critical but stable condition after officers shot the teen during what they say was an attempted robbery Thursday evening.
Police answered reports of a commercial robbery at a 7-Eleven convenience store in the city’s West End around 5:30 p.m.
Winnipeg police Cst. Rob Carver said when officers arrived they found the suspect armed with a weapon at the front entrance of the store.
“The suspect exited the store with a weapon and advanced toward the officer,” Carver told reporters during a media conference Friday.
“The suspect did not comply with the officer’s demands to drop the weapon and continued to advance toward him. At this point the officer discharged his weapon striking the suspect.”
The incident was recorded by two witnesses who posted videos to social media shortly after.
APTN News is not airing them due to the graphic nature.
The videos appear to show the teen inside the store when he starts banging something against the front doors.
When he exits he walks toward police holding something above his head.
Police are heard telling him to drop it. Seconds later nine shots are heard before the teen drops to the ground.
Carver said recordings can be helpful during an investigation but also criticized witnesses decisions to film in high tension situations.
“If officers have guns out and you don’t get out of the area and you think it’s really important to stand there and record it and you get hurt then you put yourself in self-imposed jeopardy and you shouldn’t do that, I think as just common sense,” he said.
“People are going to continue to use their phones, they’re going to continue to record things…and someone’s going to get hurt doing this one day and all I can say was ‘well we told you so.’”
The videos quickly spread on social media with many questioning why alternative options weren’t used to disarm the teen.
Carver said protocol prevents officers from using less lethal methods.
“Our training would not support our officer using a Taser in a deadly force encounter because it simply won’t protect them.
“They’re putting their lives at risk,” he said.
Police have not charged the teen because they don’t do that while a suspect is hospitalized, according to Carver.
He would not comment further on what took place before police arrived saying talking about the alleged crime before charges are laid could prejudice a court case.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba is now investigating. The oversight body is in charge of investigating any serious incidents involving police.
An officer was also hurt in the incident. Police say it appears ricochet or shrapnel may have hit the officer’s hand.
The teen still remains in hospital.