Winnipeg neighbourhood mourns c-store owner killed in fire

Jung Ja Shin, 60, and her son lived above E-Mart Groceries in the Osborne Village area.
Michelle Warren smiles
E-Mart Groceries before the fire that took the life of owner Jung Ja Shin.
E-Mart Groceries before the fire that took the life of owner Jung Ja Shin.

The convenience industry lost one of it's own this week with the tragic death of Jung Ja Shin, 60, operator of Winnipeg-based E-Mart Groceries convenience store.

Firefighters were called to Osborne Village, near the intersection of Scott Street and Wardlaw Avenue, around 11 p.m. on Sunday, according to police. 

The building featured the store at street level and an apartment above where Shin lived with her son. Shin was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but later died of her injuries. Her son was able to make it out alive, but has lost his mother, his home and his business. 

Shin's death spurred an outpouring of grief and support in the tight-knit community, which is mourning the loss of the much loved and respected business owner. Shin usually worked in the store by day and her son took over at night. 

Neighbours, friends and customers are leaving flowers and messages outside the boarded up storefront and many took part in a memorial walk last night. In addition, they have set up a GoFundMe page for the family. More than 80 people have donated so far, adding notes of appreciation for the business owners and their role in the community.

Adrian Crittenden, who is organizing the fundraiser, wrote: "This lovely family-run convenience store has been a staple in this neighbourhood. The mother and son who ran the store were the kindest people and loved to chat with everyone who came in the door. The prices were so affordable that it was a perfect place for just about anything in a pinch."

The homicide unit is investigating and police believe the fire was set deliberately. There have been a number of arsons in the area and police have released a video of a man they want to question in relation to several fires on Sunday night. An article from CBC shows images and footage of the suspect

Anyone with information is being asked to call the homicide unit at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers.

UPDATE FROM CANADIAN PRESS - Friday August 20: Police in Winnipeg have charged a man they allege set four fires, including one which led to the death of a 60-year-old woman.

The fire Sunday was at a convenience store that had a residence on the second floor.

The woman, Jung Ja Shin, was rescued but died in hospital from her injuries.

Earlier this week police released video footage of a man deliberately setting multiple blazes in the area.

Police say officers spotted a man on Thursday matching the description and, after a brief chase, he was taken into arrested.

Douglas Wayne Last, who is 50, has been charged with manslaughter and three counts of arson with disregard for human life.


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