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Second gunman in drive-by shooting gets jail time

Shooting led to high-speed chase, manhunt in residential neighbourhood

A Prince George man was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail for his role in a drive-by shooting that ended in a high-speed police chase and manhunt.

Kenneth Ricardo Munroe, 36, was sentenced to five years, six months in jail for the reckless discharge of a prohibited firearm and possession of a prohibited firearm in relation to the shooting on Bellos Street.

According to a joint statement of facts presented to the court on Friday. Munroe, Bradley Andre Ouelette and Eric Vern West planned a drive-by shooting, targeting the home of a rival gang member in the 200-block of Bellos Street, on Oct. 8, 2020.

“It was a drive-by shooting in a residential neighbourhood, in the day, near a school,” Judge Peter McDermick summarized during his sentencing ruling on Friday.

On Feb. 4, Ouelette, was sentenced to eight years in jail for his role in the shooting and chase that followed. West, the alleged driver, has plead innocent and will go to trial.

At 11:37 p.m. Ouelette and Munroe fired shotguns at the home. Ouelette fired two shots at the house and Munro fired a single shot in the air, according to his confession to police.

It was the third shooting at the home in two weeks – one on Sept. 21, 2020, and one just after midnight on Oct. 8 – only hours earlier than the shooting Munroe was sentenced for. There is no evidence to connect Munroe to the earlier shootings, the Crown prosecutor said.

The Crown prosecutor in the case said the physical evidence supports Munroe’s claim to have fired the prohibited shotgun in the air.

“No one was shot,” the Crown lawyer said. “(But) that does not take away from the very serious situation.”

With West driving, the trio drove away in a silver Chevrolet Malibu, the Crown lawyer told the court. Munroe was in the front passenger seat and Ouelette was in the back on the car.

A police officer in the area spotted the Malibu, and noted the suspicious behaviour of the occupants. When he turned around to follow the car, it took off at high speed, eastbound on Fifth Avenue.

A high-speed chase ensued, with the Malibu weaving through traffic, and nearly side-swiping several vehicles as it turned first onto Highway 97 then onto 10th Avenue. The car hit the curb and crashed through the front yard and fence of a home on McBride Crescent, the Crown prosecutor told the court.

Munroe abandoned his shotgun in the car and fled on foot. Police later found the shotgun chamber empty and two live rounds in the magazine. Shotguns with barrels altered to be shorter than 18 inches (45.7 cm) are classed as prohibited weapons in Canada.

A police dog located Munroe hiding in some bushes. The dog bit him during the arrest, and he was taken to the hospital for treatment for his injuries.

Munroe confessed to police while in the hospital and has used his time in jail to stop using drugs and get sober, his lawyer told the court.

“He suffered what could be permanent damage to his leg from the police dog chewing on him,” his lawyer told the court.

Monroe had a tragic childhood growing up in Calgary, he said. His parents were both addicts and his father was involved in crime, his lawyer said. At the age of three or four he was put in foster care, then adopted by his aunt who was physically, mentally, and sexually abusive to him, his lawyer said.

He identifies and Indigenous and black, and has suffered racism throughout his life, his lawyer said, as well as from the multi-generational impact of colonialism.

At 12, he ran away from home to escape his abusive upbringing and spent his adult life suffering from addictions. He had a history of low-level drug trafficking and other crimes in Alberta, Ontario and Prince George.

“He sees incarceration as a benefit, as it got him clean,” his lawyer said. “He hopes to go to Baldy Hughes, which is an addiction treatment centre in Prince George, to continue his treatment for addiction once he is out of incarnation.”

In addition to getting sober, he has been taking advantage of the education and other programs available to him while in jail, his lawyer said.

“He has made the most of his time in prison,” McDermick said, during his sentencing. “His antecedents are heartbreaking. In summary, it has been characterized as torture.”

Munroe has remained in custody since the shooting and was given 736 days credit for the 491 days he was incarcerated prior to his sentencing on Friday.

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