Manitoba

Firebombs, bricks, guns used in gang warfare, trial told

A graphic picture of gang rivalry on the streets of Winnipeg is being painted for jurors at the trial of Jeff Cansanay, accused in the shooting death of Winnipeg teen Phil Haiart.

A graphic picture of gangrivalry on the streets of Winnipeg is being painted for jurors at the trial of Jeff Cansanay, accused in the shooting death of Winnipeg teen Phil Haiart.

Cansanay, 21, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Haiart, who was shot while walking in the city's West End neighbourhood in October 2005.Cansanay is also charged with the attempted murder of a second man, who was walking with Haiart and was shot in the arm.

A 16-year-old member of the Winnipeg street gang Mad Cowz, who cannot be named because of his age, testified Thursday that he'd been dealing crack cocaine since he was 12 years old.

His two olderbrothers were chief members of the Mad Cowz, he said, and his role in the gang was as an enforcer who removed rivals from gang turf, using violence if necessary.

The witness, whowas on the stand for most of the day,appeared reluctant to testify and was often instructed to speak up or answer questions.

He said the Mad Cowz were determined to get rid of a group of rivals operating out of a house in the 600-block of McGee Street, which the gang considered its territory.

Cansanay and another man allegedly lived and sold crack cocaine at the house, the court was told.

The witnesssaid he and other gang members repeatedly targeted the McGee Street house in an attempt to drive out its residents.

He admitted throwing bricks through the window of the house and spraying one of the house's other residents with bear spray while he was sitting in a car near the home. He said he once tried to fire-bomb the house, but his Molotov cocktails failed to light the building on fire.

Two days before Haiart's death, the witness said he traded gunfire with Cansanay outside the house, with him using a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle and Cansanayfiring a revolver.

No one was injured and no one called police, the court was told.

Less than 48 hours later, Haiart wasshot in the stomach walking past the house on a cross street. Abass Jalloh, who was walking with Haiart, was shot in the arm.

Under cross examination, the witness said he had not been charged with any crimesand had been told hewould not face charges if he testified in court. He is scheduled to be released from a youth-detention facility next week.

Testimony from police investigators and witnesses who were at the scene of the crime is expected in the coming days. The Crown has told the jury that many of the witnesses have criminal records or are in custody.

A second person, who can't be named due to his age at the time of the incident, faces the same charges as Cansanay and will go to trial later this year.

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