Brandon Correctional Centre staff found Jean Paul Beaumont dead in a cell on Sunday. (YOUTUBE)
An inmate who died inside the Brandon Correctional Centre on Sunday was a high-ranking member of the Rock Machine outlaw motorcycle gang, sources have confirmed to the Brandon Sun.
Jean Paul Beaumont was found dead by jail staff in a cell in Unit C at approximately 10 a.m., the source said, adding that Beaumont had been stabbed.
Beaumont, a long-standing Manitoba biker, had been linked to the Hells Angels in the past through his membership with the Zig Zag Crew — a so-called "feeder" organization. But he abandoned the gang last year only to emerge as the sergeant-at-arms of the Rock Machine, a rival gang to the Hells Angels.
The sergeant-at-arms is a senior position within a gang, often responsible for keeping members in line, collecting outstanding debts and orchestrating displays of strength that usually involve violence to protect gang turf.
Brandon police have classified the death as suspicious, but wouldn’t elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the death pending an autopsy.
"Foul play hasn’t been ruled in or out and we’re still in the process of determining the specific cause of death," Brandon Police Service Const. Ron Burgess said on Monday.
The provincial justice system does place inmates based on a certain set of criteria, one of which is gang affiliation, according to a provincial justice spokesperson.
"It’s part of our standard inmate intake process to assess and check out any gang affiliations," the spokesman said.
"To make sure (the inmate) is placed in an area of the population that is based on that assessment."
As of Monday, there were 373 inmates at the jail, 125 more than the jail’s rated capacity, which is 248 inmates, a spokesman said.
"BCC is currently on lockdown while the Brandon Police Service conducts its investigation," he said.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Beaumont was arrested in July 2011 after police conducted video surveillance of his home through a camera they had secretly installed in early May, court was told during a bail hearing. Beaumont had a long criminal record and was charged with repeatedly breaching conditions of his previous bail and probation, including a curfew and driving prohibition.
The hidden camera allegedly caught Beaumont leaving his home and driving away in a vehicle on several occasions.
Crown attorney Mike Desautels filed a detailed report on the city’s gang situation with the judge, authored by members of the police organized crime unit, to boost his argument that public safety is at stake. He told court police have been closely monitoring Beaumont, along with other gang members, because of the ongoing tensions in the biker world.
Beaumont was a key player in several violent incidents during the summer of 2011 when the Rock Machine clashed with the Redlined Support Crew, a support club of the Hell Angels, in Winnipeg.
In June 2011, a member of the Redlined gang had a "flare" shot through the window of his Winnipeg home. The following night, two homes linked to members of the Rock Machine were shot up. Days later, Rock Machine president Joseph Strachan had the home he shares with his parents hit by gunfire and Molotov cocktails.
In November 2010, Daniel Kachkan, a former high-ranking associate of the Hells Angels, was shot "execution-style" inside his own home. No arrests have been made in the slaying, which was believed to have been connected to Kachkan’s alleged role in a previous homicide.
However, police distributed an internal memo around the time of the killing, warning that members of the Rock Machine motorcycle gang are believed to be armed and may be planning attacks against those affiliated with the Hells Angels.
» email@example.com, with files from the Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 16, 2012