Man charged with murder in deaths of three Winnipeg men who lived on the street

Police have charged a suspect in the deaths of three men who lived on the streets in Winnipeg.

WINNIPEG — Police have charged a suspect in the deaths of three men who lived on the streets in Winnipeg.

John Paul Ostamas is facing two charges of first-degree murder in the weekend deaths of Donald Collins, 65, and Stony Bushie, 48.

He is also facing charges of second-degree murder in the killing of another man earlier this month.

Police say Ostamas, 40, is the person of interest they were looking for. He was arrested on Monday on an unrelated assault charge and questioned.

Supt. Danny Smyth says the murder charges were laid based on security footage and after they interviewed Ostamas.

“Investigators have learned that John Paul Ostamas is very transient,” Smyth said at a news conference Tuesday.

“We know that he is originally from the Thunder Bay (Ont.) area. We also know that he has spent time in Winnipeg on and off for the past 10 years.”

Smyth said Ostamas did not have much contact with Winnipeg police other than a domestic assault in March. Investigators have learned that he has a record of multiple assaults in the Thunder Bay area dating back to 2002, Smyth said.

“Our investigators will be contacting police in other jurisdictions where Ostamas is known to have travelled.”

After Collins and Bushie were found, police issued a warning to Winnipeg’s homeless advising them to be careful, avoid secluded areas and walk with others if possible.

A friend of Bushie’s said he was a happy person who had only been in the city two weeks.

Martin Owens grew up with Bushie on the Little Grand Rapids First Nation northeast of Winnipeg. Bushie lived on the reserve during the winter and had just travelled to Winnipeg two weeks ago.

“He was always a happy kind of guy, always joking around,” said Owens, chief of the First Nation. “He would come out (to Winnipeg) and hang out with his friends and then go home. He just wanted to see his friends again.”

Owens said he saw Bushie a few days ago and offered to pay his way back to Little Grand Rapids any time he wanted to go home.

Bushie loved hunting and fishing, he said. Bushie’s mother taught him to live off the land and he was heartbroken when she died around 10 years ago, said Owens, who added Bushie is survived by an older brother and sister and never had any children.

His violent death is a shock, Owens said.

“I don’t even know how to describe it. He will be missed.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Who is at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19? Firefighters, drivers, pharmacists, cooks

Central Alberta firefighter says virus taking toll on mental health

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Federal share is approaching $750 million annually, up from $618 million in 2012-13

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

N.S. fire crews continue battling ‘out-of-control’ Porters Lake blaze

Word of the fire first emerged early Saturday afternoon

Technology, representation butt heads amid debate over resuming Parliament

The Liberals are now proposing four meetings a week until June 17

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim makes its way through Halifax

The 35-year-old military public affairs officer and Halifax native died in the crash

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada as of May 23

There are 83,621 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim to make its way through Halifax today

The military public affairs officer died in the Snowbirds Tutor jet crash in B.C. last Sunday

Employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

Only eight per cent of employers were fully prepared to restart operations, survey finds

Liberals table proposal for expanded Commons COVID-19 meetings, summer sittings

OTTAWA — The Liberals have tabled a proposal that would see expanded… Continue reading

Most Read