Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New charges for man shot by Mountie

Accused vowed to turn his life around after involvement in 2012 shooting

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A man who was shot and wounded by the RCMP has a notorious criminal past and was in the process of being arrested for new alleged offences, the Free Press has learned.

Evan Matthew Cromarty, 20, is facing charges of aggravated assault, break-and-enter and four counts of uttering threats. His lawyer, Jody Ostapiw, confirmed Monday the charges were formally authorized as her client lay in his Winnipeg hospital room recovering.

The incident comes just two months after Cromarty was released from jail and vowed to turn his troubled life around.

Cromarty was sentenced on May 7 to 18 months of time served in custody after pleading guilty to accessory after the fact and breaching a court order. More serious charges were dropped by the Crown.

'Sorry for what I took part in. I promise it won't happen again'

-- Evan Cromarty, after playing a role in a Norway House shooting in 2012

The Free Press reviewed an audio transcript of the hearing Monday.

Cromarty admitted to playing a role in a January 2012 shooting in Norway House in which a 23-year-old man and his three-year-old son were struck by gunfire inside their home. Both victims were innocent, unintended targets of a revenge plot that had been cooked up that night at a house party. They were lucky to escape with only minor injuries.

Cromarty admitted being aware of the shooting plans but denied participating. Instead, he admitted helping two others dispose of a snowmobile the shooter used to go to the scene and open fire when the adult opened the front door. The burnt machine was later found by RCMP.

"There was a lot of peer pressure on him. He had the sense to say no in the beginning (to participating). He should have continued that," Ostapiw told court about her client.

Two co-accused -- Rachel Rowden, 30, and Allan Cromarty, 24 -- are set to go on trial later this year for the shooting. Allan Cromarty is Evan's older brother. The allegations haven't been proven and they are presumed innocent.

"Sorry for what I took part in. I promise it won't happen again," Cromarty said upon resolving his case.

He had originally been granted bail following his 2012 arrest but was caught breaching curfew and remained in custody until he pleaded guilty. Ostapiw told court her client was planning to return to Norway House, which had expelled him from the community after the shooting incident.

"Given the nature of the charges and how traumatic it was for the community, they didn't want him back," she said.

Cromarty wasn't all that excited about returning, either. Ostapiw said he'd been addicted to drugs and alcohol since his early teens while growing up in Norway House with his parents and four siblings. She said there had been constant run-ins with police.

"That's what the young people in Norway House do. You start very young there," said Ostapiw. "It's not a place where there's a lot of opportunity for him."

Cromarty only completed Grade 8 in school and was given a five-year expulsion by Norway House education officials based on his behaviour in class, court was told.

Ostapiw told court her client was planning to upgrade his education following his return to the community, and eventually move to Winnipeg where there were more opportunities.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 22, 2014 A4

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