Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Shooting victim recalls watching friends die

Two suspects on trial for deadly attack at party

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One minute the party was in full effect. The next, a few dozen drunken, dancing young men and women were dodging and ducking a hail of bullets.

And Kyle St. Germaine looked down to discover a horrific sight. Two of his friends were badly wounded, taking what would be their final breaths. And his own health was in peril.

"I only had half an arm," St. Germaine, 20, told a Winnipeg courtroom Wednesday. "I could see the tendons. I didn't even realize I got shot at the time. But then the adrenaline kicked in and I started getting dizzy."

St. Germaine was called to testify at the trial of two alleged young offenders who have pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and a single charge of attempted murder. Their names can't be published because they were 16 and 17 at the time of the killings.

Tyler Hawula and Matthew Reynolds, both 18, were killed during the December 2009 ambush inside an Elmwood home. Both were friends of St. Germaine, who described watching helplessly as their lives slipped away.

"Matt was unconscious. TJ was freaking out, yelling 'Let me die, let me die,' " St. Germaine recalled.

The tragic night began on a much happier note. Hawula and a small group of friends had planned to host a party at his home on Martin Avenue West and advertised the event using Facebook. It was a "Black Light" theme, in which guests were encouraged to wear white and be illuminated.

But the invitation spread like wildfire through the social-networking website, resulting in several unknown people showing up. That included the two accused and several of their gang-connected friends. Later on, the 17-year-old was kicked out by Hawula, Reynolds and another man because he was getting into arguments with other guests and frightening people by flashing weapons, court was told.

The youth left -- his friends, including the 16-year-old, had previously departed -- and that's when, the Crown alleged, a plot was hatched to return to the home and seek revenge. As he left, the 17-year-old told guests, "I can have this house shot up with one phone call," and "I'll blow this place to (expletive)," several witness have previously testified.

The two defendants are accused of doing exactly that. They allegedly armed themselves with a stolen shotgun and stormed into the party, where the younger teen shot Hawula in the abdomen and Reynolds in the chest.

St. Germaine was shot seconds later, and the gun was pointed at a fourth man but the assailants had run out of ammunition, court heard.

"They were yelling, 'Don't f with my bros, don't f with my homies,' " St. Germaine said Wednesday. He spent several weeks in hospital and has undergone at least seven surgeries to his arm, which still has reduced function.

Two other friends were allegedly waiting outside the home when the shooting occurred. At least one of them is now expected to testify for the Crown. A youth remains before the courts on first-degree murder charges, while adult co-accused Cody Delorme pleaded guilty to reduced charges of manslaughter and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2012 A8

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