A man accused of fatally shooting four people in Winnipeg's West Broadway neighbourhood last weekend was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces for 11 years, a court heard earlier this year.
Jamie Randy Felix was arrested early Friday morning and charged with four counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Court records show Felix had no criminal record until recently, when he was given a two-year suspended sentence and supervised probation after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.
That charge stemmed from an incident at an apartment party in August 2021 where a drunk man ended up falling down the stairs, a provincial court heard on March 3 of this year.
The man spent nine days in hospital and suffered from some memory loss related to the night in question, and random dizziness, but otherwise made a full recovery, court heard.
During the March hearing, Crown attorney Tim Chudy told the court that Felix was a military veteran, who served 11 years and reached the rank of corporal.
It's unclear whether Felix is an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces, or was in March. CBC News has reached out to the Department of National Defence for comment.
Felix's Instagram page features several photos of him in military uniforms.
During a 2020 interview with CBC Radio's Now or Never, Felix described himself as a "Canadian soldier" who also worked in an office.
One of several photos from Jamie Felix's Instagram account where he's pictured in a military uniform. (Jamie Randy Felix/Instagram)
He said he struggled with addiction following the murder of his twin brother in 2012, but later found help through a support group for men.
He also described growing up in a "toxic" environment, where those around him were abusing drugs and alcohol.
He turned to fitness to avoid "going back to that lifestyle I tried to get away from my entire life," he said in the 2020 interview.
Melvin Swan, a retired corporal, told CBC on Friday that he met Felix when the young man was enrolled in Bold Eagle, a military training program geared toward Indigenous youth.
Swan said he believes Felix joined the Canadian Army Reserves following the program, but he lost track of him over the years.
"When I was dealing with him, he was respectful, he was a good guy," said Swan, adding that he also knew Felix's mother and twin brother.
"I did the best I could to try to help him."
News of Felix's arrest came as a shock to Swan.
"I really don't know what to make of it.… My heart goes out to the families."
'I am sorry for what I did'
During the March hearing, court also heard Felix was the only person who took responsibility for the August 2021 incident by turning himself in to police and providing a full statement detailing his involvement two days later.
"Notwithstanding that, there were probably lots of better ways to have dealt with the highly intoxicated" man who fell down the stairs, Chudy said.
The Crown also noted Felix's pre-sentence report deemed him a medium risk to reoffend, which Chudy said "seemed a little bit high to me … for somebody who's never been in trouble with the law at all and has enforced the law."
Felix's lawyer, Laura Robinson, described her client as someone who had made positive contributions to his community but struggled with addictions.
Winnipeg police said on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, that Jamie Felix, 32, had been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with a mass shooting that left four people dead on Nov. 26. He's pictured here in a photo from his Instagram page. (Jamie Randy Felix/Instagram)
Robinson said Felix had sought treatment once and left early, but had since started filling out applications for another residential treatment facility and hoped to go back to school to complete his business diploma.
The lawyer said the focus in sentencing her client should be on providing him support "so that we don't see him back before the court."
"But certainly given his lack of record, he certainly seems to be on the right track himself," Robinson said.
CBC listened to recordings of the proceedings. When given the chance to speak for himself, Felix was soft-spoken as he apologized for his actions.
"I should have handled it in a better way, but I am sorry for what I did," he said.
The conditions of his suspended sentence included attending any counselling or programming directed by probation services. He was also prohibited from owning or possessing any weapons during his probation period.
Judge Sandra Chapman told Felix she saw him as someone who had struggled with significant challenges, "and yet it's very warming, from the court's perspective, to see how hard you've worked to try to overcome those difficulties."
"You really could be an individual that could help your community a lot by, on the one hand, understanding what they go through," Chapman said.
She also thanked both lawyers for coming to a joint sentencing recommendation that would not see Felix serve time in jail.
"It is one that could have gone a whole other way, and we could end up with Mr. Felix in custody. And fortunately, that's not what's happening here."