On Monday, April 27th, 2015 Homicide investigators located the person of interest based on the photos released on Sunday, April 26th. That individual was arrested and taken into custody as a result of an earlier assault that was unrelated to the homicides.
Ostamas encountered 65-year-old Donald Collins in the downtown area Saturday evening (April 25th, 2015), together they attended to the laneway near Hargrave and Portage where Ostamas attacked and murdered Collins. He was left for dead in the alley.
Several hours later Ostamas encountered 48-year-old Stony Bushie, also in the downtown area. Together they attended to a parkade near Hargrave and Portage. Ostamas attacked and murdered Bushie within the parkade and left him for dead.
Homicide investigators have also learned that Ostamas encountered 37-year-old Myles Monias in a bus shelter on Main Street near Pioneer Avenue. This chance encounter occurred on April 10th, 2015, in the early morning hours. Ostamas attacked and murdered Monias in the bus shelter where he was left for dead.
Investigators have learned that John Paul Ostamas is very transient. We know that he is originally from the Thunder Bay area. We also know that he has spent time in Winnipeg on and off for the past 10 years. Ostamas had very little contact with the Winnipeg Police. Our only dealing with him prior to this investigation was a domestic assault that occurred in March of this year.
Investigators have since learned that Ostamas has a violent record for multiple assaults in the Thunder Bay area dating back to 2002. Our investigators will be contacting police in other jurisdictions where Ostamas is known to have travelled. At this time we cannot confirm whether Ostamas has been involved in any other unsolved crimes.
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of our Homicide Unit, our Major Crimes Unit, our Street Crime Unit, our Tech Crimes Unit, our Forensics Unit, our Cadet Unit, and the men and women working in Uniform Operations during the week-end. This collective effort was quarterbacked by our Homicide Sergeant Wes Rommel and Sergeant John O’Donovan who did a tremendous job in quickly closing in on John Ostamas and clearing these homicides.
The Winnipeg Police Service wants to commend the community and general public who responded to our call for assistance on Sunday, and without whom we would not have solved these homicides as quickly as we did.
The Service also wants to acknowledge the efforts of many of the social agencies. They were instrumental in spreading the word throughout the community in an effort to protect other vulnerable people living on the streets and in shelters in the area. This afternoon we have representatives from Siloam Mission, the Salvation Army – Booth Center, and the Main Street Project on Martha Street. A big thank-you to all the agencies that assisted us. The overall community response was overwhelming and greatly appreciated by our investigators.
The Winnipeg Police Service, the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police Board are committed to continue working with our community partners in dealing with vulnerable people and the homeless.