News Canada

Man throws fluid on girl

David Larkins has been passionately covering university athletics in Canada over the past 15 years, most recently as a university beat reporter for the Brandon Sun and, prior to that, in southern Ontario where he worked in print, radio and television.

By David Larkins, Winnipeg Sun

Close-up of emergency lights

Close-up of emergency lights

Winnipeg police say surveillance video is still being reviewed and DNA tests are pending after an unsettling incident at the St. Vital Centre involving a group of teenage girls.

Police are only calling it a suspicious person investigation for now, but the service’s sex crimes unit is involved in investigating the incident that took place Sunday afternoon.

A small group of teenage girls said they were followed by an unknown man while they were shopping in the mall around 1:50 p.m. Police said the man was following them so closely that the girls felt the need to evade him and walked into a store.

At one point one of the girls noticed an unknown substance on her clothing, which police allege was sprayed or deposited by the man.

Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said it’s too early to say what the substance was, and said DNA testing will be able to determine if it was bodily fluid.

“There’s information to support that it may be a bodily fluid, absolutely,” he said. “We’re going to do testing to determine exactly what we’re dealing with. … I’m not confirming what that substance is at this point, but we will do any and all testing.”

Michalyshen said the victims were “13 to 14 years of age” and called the suspect’s alleged actions “a form of assault.”

Michalyshen said the girls exercised the right judgment by walking into a store.

“It was quite apparent that this individual was following them, the girls clearly were uncomfortable with the situation,” he said. “They did all the right things here. … Our suspect in this matter was motivated to make contact with them. To call this disturbing is fair to say. It’s uncomfortable to talk about it.”

In an email, St. Vital Centre manager Cheryl Mazur declined comment citing the ongoing investigation.

“We don’t want to jeopardize anything that the WPS might be working on,” she said. “Our security team is well trained; they acted quickly as they would for any situation that occurs on our property.”

The suspect is described as a white man, 40-50 years old, approximately 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8 with a heavy build and a wrinkled weathered-looking face. He was wearing a flat-style blue felt hat with a small brim and a blue plaid jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 204-986-6245 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

dlarkins@postmedia.com

Twitter: @LarkinsWSun