NEWS
04/28/2015 12:02 EDT | Updated 06/28/2015 01:12 EDT

Suspect in custody in relation to killing of two Winnipeg homeless men

WINNIPEG - Friends say one of the men killed in downtown Winnipeg was a happy person who had only been in the city two weeks.Donald Collins and Stony Bushie were found dead on the weekend after what police believe were related attacks. Investigators say the men, 65 and 48, were found less than a block apart on Saturday.Police said Tuesday they had a suspect in custody and were expected to provide more details later in the day.Martin Owens grew up with Bushie as members of the Little Grand Rapids First Nation and said everyone is devastated by his death. 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, who is 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 just a few days ago and offered to pay his way back to Little Grand Rapids any time he wanted."I told him to go home," Owens said. "But he was happy."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 but never had any children of his own.His violent death is a shock, Owens said."I don't even know how to describe it. He will be missed."Bushie and Collins were remembered as friendly and polite visitors to the city's soup kitchen lines. Homeless workers with the Downtown Winnipeg Biz said the two men were "pleasant and engaging." Their deaths have prompted police to warn Winnipeg's homeless to be careful, avoid secluded areas and walk with others if possible. Investigators are not ruling out the possibility the cases may be linked to the death of a homeless man in the city on April 10.On the weekend, police said they were looking for a "person of interest" in the deaths and released four photographs of him taken from security camera video. They have not said whether the suspect in custody is the same person they were seeking.They believe someone who was unknown to the men is responsible for both homicides.