Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gang shooter sentenced to two years

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A man has pleaded guilty to opening fire on gang members who crashed his 20th birthday party -- hitting one victim in the arm and causing permanent injury.

Alexander Sanderson pleaded guilty on Wednesday in The Pas to a charge of criminal negligence causing bodily harm for the July 2013 incident in his home community of Grand Rapids. In exchange, the Crown dropped a more serious charge of attempted murder.

Sanderson was given a two-year sentence as part of a plea bargain. The Crown cited serious concerns with its case, including several key witnesses who either refuse to testify, claim they saw nothing or have gone missing.

The incident began when Sanderson and numerous friends were celebrating his birthday at a residence on the reserve. The party mood turned sour when several people -- connected to the Indian Posse street gang -- began confronting guests outside the home. They were also flashing gang signs and may have been carrying weapons, court was told.

"There was lots of monkey business going on," said Crown attorney Todd Rambow, adding the victim and his friends had "less than clean hands."

Sanderson grabbed a shotgun, came out his front door and fired at least one blast. He did not specifically take aim at any person, court was told.

The victim who was hit suffered gruesome wounds to his arm that have left it practically "useless," court was told.

Defence lawyer Wendy Martin-White said her client has cognitive issues and felt like his safety was being threatened. He has plans to resume his schooling, take care of his two young children and eventually assume control over his ailing father's commercial fishing business upon being released from jail.

Sanderson has spent more than 13 months in custody without bail, which was given time-and-a-half credit. That leaves him with only about four months left of his sentence to serve.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 4, 2014 B4

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