Man sentenced to 12 years for gang-related shootings

A 21-year-old Winnipeg man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for two gang-related shootings in the city's West End, including one that unintentionally injured a 10-year-old girl.

A 21-year-old Winnipeg man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for two gang-related shootings in the city's West End, including one that unintentionally injured a 10-year-old girl.

Paramedics take the girl, who was 10 years old at the time, to hospital following the May 26, 2010, shooting on Victor Street. (CBC)

The man pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of discharging a firearm in connection with the May 2010 incidents, including the May 26 shooting of a house on Victor Street.

Court heard that the man, who was then a 19-year-old member of the Indian Posse street gang, fired three shots at the home as an act of retaliation for a drive-by shooting that killed a fellow gang member the day before.

Inside the house was the girl, who was hit in the knee by a bullet that went through the front window. Her sister, who was eight at the time, was superficially injured by flying glass and debris.

Neighbours and the man's own younger brother told police they saw him with a rifle at the time of the incident. The man was arrested two days later at The Forks, with a machete hidden in his pants.

A teenage co-accused pleaded guilty in September 2010 to aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in connection to the attack.

Opened fire at passing vehicles

Court heard that on the day before the Victor Street shooting, the man was at a known gang house on Toronto Street when it's believed that a member of the Manitoba Warriors gang opened fire, killing one man and wounding another.

Incensed, the man armed himself with a rifle and shot at a passing Dodge Neon and another car at least 10 times, under the belief that the rival gang member was inside the Neon.

Neither vehicle was involved in the gang attack. There were three people inside one of the cars, but they were not hurt in the shooting.

The man told the court on Monday that he was sorry for both shootings. He also admitted that he is a member of the Indian Posse.

In court on Monday, the accused said, "I'm sorry for hurting these children and firing on that Neon ... sorry."

Defence lawyer John Corona said his client chose to enter a guilty plea in order to avoid having the two girls and his little brother testify.

Corona and the Crown jointly recommended the 12-year prison sentence, with six years for each of the shootings.

Violence senseless, says Crown

Crown attorney Carla Dewar called the violence completely senseless. She said the accused should be lucky he wasn't in court on a murder charge.

Dewar called the Indian Posse one of the most violent street gangs in the city, and one that is completely out of control.

The older members of the gang are now in prison, meaning the younger members are taking over and are being very violent, Dewar told the court.

Gesturing to the accused, Dewar said, "The young members of this gang are going to end up one of four ways: dead, in jail, dead in jail, or ratted out and in jail."

CBC News is not publishing the man's name in order to report on his involvement with the justice system when he was a minor.

When he was 17, the man was convicted of careless use of a firearm in connection to a fatal pellet gun-related shooting of a 13-year-old boy on Home Street.

The shooting occurred after the two teens had broken into a garage and began fighting over a loaded pellet gun that was left inside.

The gun was discharged and a pellet entered the younger boy's eye and lodged in his brain. He later died in hospital.

With files from the CBC's Sean Kavanagh