Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Five years for shooting spree at nightclub

Court hears tearful apology

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A man has been sentenced to five years in prison for a wild shooting spree that injured five people outside a Garry Street bar six years ago.

Arnold Lanuza, 30, pleaded guilty to firing a semi-automatic handgun on a crowded street, in an act of revenge against the bar after one of his friends was hospitalized that August 2007 evening after a fight with a club bouncer.

Justice Joan McKelvey noted before she handed down her ruling Wednesday Lanuza had no criminal record or criminal links, but added his actions "were dangerous and utterly senseless."

Court was told Lanuza intended only to shoot the club's outdoor sign but lost control as the handgun recoiled and wildly fired seven shots in all directions.

Campbell said Lanuza had never fired a gun before and his plan was to shoot up the sign high on the building's exterior.

"He aimed, closed his eyes and squeezed the trigger," Campbell said, adding Lanuza was unable to control the weapon, adding he never intended to hurt anyone.

Lanuza broke down as he apologized in court.

"I wish I could go back in time and undo what I did," Lanuza said as tears streamed down his face. "All the pain I caused all those people, there's no excuse."

McKelvey accepted the joint recommendation from Crown prosecutor Dale Harvey and defence counsel Roberta Campbell that Lanuza serve four years for criminal negligence causing bodily harm and an additional year for possessing a prohibited weapon with ammunition.

One of the victims, a young woman who suffered the most severe injuries, submitted a victim impact statement.

"I can't even begin to describe how awful it was to be waiting for a safe ride home one minute, and be lying on the sidewalk in a pool of my own blood the next," said the woman, who was a third-year commerce student at the University of Manitoba at the time but had to quit her studies and her job and return to her Vancouver home after treatment.

A bullet severed the main artery in her arm and she continues to suffer pain.

"To this day, I constantly have a fear that something bad will happen to me or someone I love," she wrote.

"No matter how hard I try, I will never, ever get that horrific night out of my mind."

McKelvey said Lanuza is genuinely remorseful. He had been on bail for six years and never breached his conditions.

Campbell told court Lanuza had been "a good kid with a normal happy upbringing," adding that changed a year before the shooting when his father unexpectedly died. Lanuza began using alcohol to cope with his feelings, she said, and then fell into the wrong crowd. The night of the shooting, Campbell said, Lanuza got caught up in the excitement of his friend's altercation with the bouncer.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2013 A7

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