Man shot by Winnipeg police has lengthy criminal record in N.L.

Man shot by Winnipeg police has lengthy criminal record in N.L.

The man shot by Winnipeg police in a downtown skywalk Monday is no stranger to the justice system, CBC News has learned.

Josh Pardy, 25, has been identified by family as the man shot by Winnipeg police on Monday.

He doesn't have a criminal record in Manitoba, but has been convicted in Newfoundland and Labrador at least 29 times since 2010. His crimes include theft under $5,000 to assault, obstructing a police officer, impaired driving, sexual interference and possessing property obtained by crime.

Pardy was born in Winnipeg but was apprehended by Child and Family Services when he was very young, his uncle told CBC. He was adopted by a family in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., and spent most of his life there.

Last year Pardy came to Winnipeg to reconnect with his biological father, a former RCMP officer who died months later, according to his relatives.

"His dad passed away after six months … So I guess everything went boom," said Pardy's biological aunt, Barbara Disbrowe.

Lawrence Disbrowe, Pardy's uncle, said Pardy moved in with him for a few months last winter but started using drugs. He called his nephew a "good kid" who got caught up with the wrong crowd. 

Shooting justified, says family

Witnesses said Pardy was holding a handmade "spear" when he was confronted by officers in the second-floor skywalk attached to the Winnipeg police downtown headquarters.

Police then shot Pardy, witnesses say. He was taken to hospital in unstable condition after the shooting, but has since been upgraded to stable.

CBC News is told the officers involved were police instructors who specialize in use of force training techniques, and were on lunch break when they spotted Pardy acting strangely in a Subway restaurant.

Witnesses said police approached Pardy but he walked away to an optometrist's office next door and kicked in the door, swearing and waving around a weapon.

"Police kept telling him, 'Drop your weapon, drop your weapon,' but he ignored them," said Nicelyn Romero, who works at the optical office.

"We were in jeopardy," said optometrist Robert Lecker. "We were glad the police were here. That's really how it shakes out."

"I don't like what he did but he's family," said Lawrence Disbrowe, who on Tuesday questioned the actions of the officer who shot his nephew, but is now expressing gratitude that Pardy's life was spared.

"I'm kind of glad the guy who did it didn't kill him," Disbrowe said. "I know it was justified … If I had the chance I would shake the officer's hand."

When asked if charges will be laid in the incident, Winnipeg police Const. Rob Carver said, "We will not lay charges until such time as he is medically released. Once that occurs, and charges are laid, we can advise you as to the details, and the legal status of the male."

Investigation unit lacks transparency, says police union

Manitoba's Independent Investigation Unit is investigating, as is the protocol in a police-involved shooting. The investigative unit has not provided any details on this case but did confirm the man who was shot was 25 years old.

"The IIU appreciates the public and media interest in this case. However, the present matter is currently under investigation and its integrity must be maintained at all times while all relevant information and facts are gathered and assessed," said IIU spokesperson Barbara Czech in a statement to CBC.

"The IIU's mandate is to investigate the circumstances of this matter and determine what consequences, if any, are to be ascribed to the subject officer(s). That is its sole concern in this regard," the statement said.

The Winnipeg Police Service has also been tight-lipped. The Winnipeg Police Association said that's because the Police Act forbids the service from talking about the case once it's in the hands of the IIU. Association president Maurice Sabourin called that a shame.

"We have another layer of oversight now that was supposed to improve transparency when it's actually had the opposite effect," said Sabourin.

"The public won't hear of the details of this incident until IIU is finished investigating and as we've seen in other lethal force encounters or officer-involved shootings it's months down the road. So it's actually in effect decreasing the transparency for a certain period of time."

Sabourin said no police officer wants to intentionally harm anyone. He is confident the officers involved in Monday's shooting relied on their training and acting accordingly.