MANITOBA, Canada – Filipinos in Winnipeg have banded together in a push to keep their community safe after a compatriot was recently shot dead.
The Filipino community in Winnipeg is once again shaken by a crime that led to the death of 53-year-old Joselito Fernandez.
Fernandez was pronounced dead in hospital after being found shot in the area of Selkirk Avenue on April 18.
After weeks of waiting since the incident, family and friends were finally able to see Fernandez for the first time at the wake held last Friday.
“Four weeks I didn’t see him. He said he’s going to Ontario with a friend. So we assumed that he was in Ontario that’s why we're doubly shocked when we heard that he’s the one who got killed,” said his sister Melinda Fernandez-Mohammed.
Fernandez just finished his shift as a dishwasher at a casino and was on his way home when the incident happened.
“Normally, he finishes work at 1:30 in the morning and the bus is limited so normally he walks with his backpack in going home. He was going home that night,” Mohammed said.
Her brother was shot in the chest.
Fernandez’s fatal shooting happened just over a month after 17-year-old Jaime “Jimboy” Adao died in a home invasion in Winnipeg last March.
The incidents have caused worry among many Filipinos about safety in the city and are pleading for justice.
As part of a local movement, many kababayans initiated watch groups, volunteering and patrolling to boost safety in different areas in the city.
“There are concerned groups that also stepped up and decided to do patrolling and decided to keep their lines open in case there’s a kababayan who would need their help. The person was apprehended, but we feel that somehow the system failed us,” said Leila Castro, founder of 204 Neighborhood Watch.
Last week, a 16-year-old Winnipeg teenager was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the incident, as well as charges of failure to comply with conditions and possession of a firearm/ammunition despite a prohibition order.
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