Police officer shoots man in downtown skywalk

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Police officer shoots man in downtown skywalk

A man was shot by an on-duty Winnipeg police officer inside the city's skywalk, a network of pedestrian walkways that connect downtown buildings, Monday afternoon.

Police have not released many details about what happened leading up to the shooting, which happened around 12:20 p.m. near the intersection of Garry Street at Graham Avenue, and said it was unknown whether the man was armed.

Sources tell CBC News the man was holding a stick with a knife taped to it when he was shot.

Jennifer Charman was in the skywalk going for a lunchtime walk when she heard the sounds of gunshots.

"I heard some shouting coming from the optical office that's next to the Subway [restaurant] and I didn't think a whole lot out of it until I heard a couple of pops," she said about 10 minutes after the shooting happened. 

"I didn't think anything of that either until I saw a couple of cops running [with] their radios on and they didn't know what the location was, where the incident was, so we pointed them towards the optical shop and they ran in and they locked the door behind them."

Another witness told CBC News that they saw police and security officers following a man who had been acting strangely inside the Subway restaurant before the shooting.

It is unknown why the officer who fired the shots was in the walkway at the time, said Danny Smyth, chief of Winnipeg police. The walkway is often used by police officers on their breaks or when they are walking to and from work.

He described the incident as a "confrontation."

Smyth confirmed the shooting took place near the Subway restaurant, located in the second-floor enclosed walkway in the old Canada Post tower, which is attached to the new police headquarters building.

"The shouting didn't stop. I kept walking but I kept hearing the shouting till I was out of range," Charman said.

Paramedics took the man to hospital in ambulance in unstable condition.

Winnipeg police have notified the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) of the incident, Smyth said.

The unit, which oversees incidents involving police where serious injury has occurred, will assume jurisdiction over the investigation going forward.

"We have an established protocol to hand things over to IIU," Smyth said. "I expect the transition for IIU will probably be pretty quick today."

Part of the downtown skywalk will remain closed on Monday as investigators examine the scene.