Victim, father handcuffed in court kerfuffle after man acquitted in shooting involving stolen RCMP gun
‘My daughter almost dies and he gets away with it,’ Corey Vanderaa yelled in the court hallway
A teenage shooting victim and her father were led from the Winnipeg courthouse in handcuffs on Thursday after a suspect accused of shooting the girl with an RCMP officer's stolen gun was acquitted of all charges.
After the judge's ruling, Corey Vanderaa, whose daughter, Calli, was shot with a gun stolen from an RCMP van, went into the court hallway visibly upset with the outcome.
"My daughter almost dies and he gets away with it," Vanderaa yelled. "It's a joke."
Vanderaa opened the door to the courtroom, pointed at the accused and said "Your days are numbered."
The sheriff was called and soon a host of officers placed him in handcuffs and led him away. "I almost lost [my daughter], you know what I mean," Vanderaa told one of the officers.
In tears, his daughter had tried to calm him, but when the officers showed up she started to film the incident, which is illegal within the Court of Queen's Bench.
After refusing to delete the video, Calli Vanderaa was taken to the ground by sheriffs, handcuffed and led away.
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"Dad!" Calli yelled as she was being led down the hallway.
A third man in the hallway also started recording Calli being cuffed, and he was also taken into custody by the officers.
The incident followed the acquittal of Matthew McKay, 26, who was charged with attempted murder and several weapons offences in connection with the Oct. 24, 2015 shooting outside an Autumnwood Drive convenience store.
Calli Vanderaa, then 16, was sitting in a friend's car when she was shot in the chest at close range through the front passenger door window.
Court previously heard testimony that McKay and another man, Matthew Andrew Miles, had been six kilometres away at a garage party a short time earlier when they allegedly stole a gun, ammunition, pepper spray and other items from an RCMP truck parked outside before leaving the area on stolen bicycles.
However, Justice Sheldon Lanchberry ruled that since the witnesses were all very intoxicated and there were police procedural issues with the photo books used to identify McKay, he had doubts about who ultimately fired the gun.
"My doubts are not frivolous," he said.
Lanchberry said all of the people in the car with McKay, excluding the driver, were extremely drunk and testified that they had seen McKay with the gun. However, on cross-examination all but one said they could not be sure it was him.
Lanchberry also pointed to Calli Vanderaa's testimony, during which she said that when she initially told her friends in the car that she had been shot, they thought it was a joke. It wasn't until they saw her bleeding that they reacted, the judge said.
The judge said if the witnesses were sober and had seen a gun, they wouldn't have thought it was a joke.
He added that there was no physical evidence to tie McKay to the weapon.
With files from Dean Pritchard