WINNIPEG — A man who served as a military corporal has been charged in a shooting that claimed the lives of four people in Manitoba's capital.
Officers were called early Sunday to a multi-unit house in Winnipeg's West Broadway neighbourhood, where they found five people wounded.
A man and a woman were pronounced dead at the scene, and another man and woman died later in hospital.
A fifth person, a 55-year-old man, remained in hospital in "very critical" condition, police said Friday.
Sgt. Wade McDonald, with the Winnipeg police homicide unit, said officers identified a suspect Thursday.
"We worked endless hours conducting canvasses, reviewing video, conducting interviews attempting to solve this as quick as we can," he said.
Police named those killed as: Crystal Beardy, 34; her sister Stephanie Beardy, 33; Melelek Lesikel, 29; and Dylan Lavallee, 41.
Early Friday, officers arrested Jamie Randy Felix, 32, at a home in the southeast end of the city.
Insp. Jennifer McKinnon said Felix was "safely taken into custody." He faces four counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
"This has been a stressful time for not only the Winnipeg Police Service, but the entire city and beyond," she said.
"It's times like this that we really need to come together as a community to lend support to one another. We can't do this alone."
McKinnon couldn't say whether the suspect and victims knew each other.
Andrée-Anne Poulin, a spokeswoman for the Defence Department, confirmed that Felix joined the Canadian Armed Forces in July 2010 and was released in August 2021.
"He was a corporal with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles who served as an infantry soldier," Poulin said in a statement. "He had no deployments throughout his career in the military."
Provincial court records show Felix was on two years of supervised probation for an assault that occurred in August 2021.
Felix was at the same apartment building as a man who was causing a disturbance and was later found injured at the bottom of a landing, a sentencing hearing for Felix detailed.
The man spent nine days in the hospital and was treated for a skull fracture and mild abrasions on his face. He was unable to provide police with information relating to the fall due to memory loss and being inebriated at the time.
The sentencing hearing was told Felix turned himself in to police two days later.
During the sentencing, he accepted responsibility for the role he played but the hearing didn't go into detail about what that was.
"I am sorry for everything I did. I should have handled it in a better way," Felix told the judge.
The hearing noted Felix had no prior criminal record. He worked his way up to corporal in the military and co-operated with police during the assault investigation.
It was also brought up that Felix struggled with substance use issues earlier in his life and was seeking addictions treatment.
The judge recognized Felix had taken steps to address underlying issues and had shown growth.
Felix was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm. Along with supervised probation, he was to complete counselling and banned from having weapons.
An Instagram account under the name Jamie Felix, with the user name jamierandyfelix, lists the user as being interested in fitness and modelling.
In a 2019 post, the user is pictured next to a gravestone for his identical twin brother, Johnathen James Felix, who died in 2012. Local media reports from that time say Johnathen Felix was killed in the same West Broadway neighbourhood in drug-related violence.
The sisters who were shot Sunday were from Lake St. Martin, north of Winnipeg. Family say Stephanie Beardy was living in the community and visiting relatives in Winnipeg, including her sister Crystal Beardy.
Chief Chris Traverse has known the family for years and spent time with them this week as they have been grieving.
"It's painful. One of my best friends is their brother. I've been with him the past couple of days," Traverse said in an interview Friday.
Traverse commended police for their diligence in locating a suspect, which has brought some relief to the family and community.
"They can start grieving and prepare for funerals that are coming up," he said.
McDonald said police will be executing several search warrants and interviewing additional witnesses.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 1, 2023.
Brittany Hobson and Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press