Manitoba man pleads guilty in birthday shooting; sentenced to two years

By on September 4, 2014

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THE PAS, Man.—A Manitoba man has admitted to firing one blast from a shotgun when gang members crashed his 20th birthday party.

Alexander Sanderson pleaded guilty in a courtroom in The Pas to criminal negligence causing bodily harm for shooting a man in the arm in July 2013.

Court heard Sanderson wasn’t aiming at anyone when he fired the blast at his home in Grand Rapids.

The Crown dropped a more serious charge of attempted murder.

Sanderson was sentenced to two years in jail as part of his plea bargain.

The Crown cited serious concerns with its case, including several key witnesses who either refused to testify, said they saw nothing or have disappeared.

Court was told the party mood turned sour when several people connected to the Indian Posse street gang confronted guests outside Sanderson’s home and flashed gang signs.

“There was lots of monkey business going on,” said Crown attorney Todd Rambow.

The victim who was hit was so badly injured that his arm has been left practically useless, court heard.

Defence lawyer Wendy Martin-White said Sanderson suffers from cognitive issues and felt like his safety was being threatened.

Provincial court Judge Malcolm McDonald told Sanderson to “consider yourself very lucky” the Crown was forced to cut a deal.

The judge also expressed concern about the prevalence of gangs in communities such as Grand Rapids and the reluctance of people to co-operate with police and justice officials.

“It’s nothing but a recipe for disaster,” said McDonald.

Sanderson has spent more than 13 months in custody without bail, for which he was given time-and-a-half credit. That leaves him with about four months on his sentence.