Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Charges laid in gang shooting

Drug deal went bad, city police allege

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POLICE accuse a Winnipeg man recently bailed out of jail to a supervised drug-treatment program of trying to kill two gang associates during a botched drug deal.

Tyler Kowal, 26, is charged with two counts of attempted murder and a slew of gun-related charges in connection with a Dec. 22 shooting in the parking lot of the Crystallite apartment block on Partridge Avenue in West Kildonan.

Police allege Kowal and another suspect went to do a drug deal with two men in a vehicle, but it turned violent.

A Glock 9-mm pistol -- a restricted firearm in Canada -- was produced and fired, said police.

A bullet hit and wounded the driver.

The suspects and another occupant of the vehicle fled on foot. The vehicle proceeded forward, striking a number of parked cars before stopping.

The injured driver, 23, was rushed to hospital in critical condition but was later upgraded to stable.

Court records show the two victims have ties to the Manitoba Warriors.

Police also accused Kowal of taking part in a Dec. 27 armed home invasion on Boyd Avenue that saw a man and woman assaulted and robbed of cash and drugs.

A hammer and baseball bat were used in the attack, police said.

The injuries were non-life-threatening.

Kowal was arrested Thursday in the area of Camiel-Sys Street in the St. Boniface Industrial Park with help from the police helicopter.

In addition to the charges from the shooting and home invasion, police said Kowal was wanted on four outstanding arrest warrants and was in possession of an amount of Percocet pills.

The powerful painkiller contains a mixture of highly addictive oxycodone and acetaminophen.

Kowal has long struggled with an addiction to the drug, his lawyer told court at an Oct. 18 hearing.

Judge Marva Smith agreed to release Kowal to a supervised bail program through the John Howard Society -- a program he's accused of absconding from.

The residential program was to include frequent Narcotics Anonymous meetings and a four-month regimen of intensive drug-treatment sessions.

Prosecutors opposed Kowal's release, citing the likelihood he'd reoffend.

"For a long time now, he's had a serious drug addiction to the point where he would do 60 Percocets a day," Aaron Braun told Smith, who agreed Kowal "needs to be better in confrontational situations."

Kowal still faces trial for assault, mischief and theft, charges that were laid against him in early September.

It was disclosed in court last March Kowal was one of a handful of adults being supervised by the police auto-theft unit while in the community.

After pleading guilty March 6 to uttering threats, assault and driving while disqualified, Judge Mary Kate Harvie ordered Kowal to serve three years of supervised probation on top of 90 days time served.

His probation order bars him from ingesting any illegal drugs. Kowal remains in custody. He's presumed innocent until it's proven otherwise.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 4, 2014 B1

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