Man sentenced for drug house shoot out

A 22-year-old man was sentenced Monday to a further three years in prison for his role in an exchange of gunfire outside a Prince George drug house.

Michael Campbell-Alexander was issued the term in provincial court for the Oct. 22, 2017 incident in the driveway of a 2000-block Tamarack Street home.

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Crown prosecution had been seeking a further 7 1/2 years in jail less credit of 2 1/2 years for time served prior to sentencing while defence counsel argued five years less time served.

During the sentencing hearing, video from security cameras posted around the home's perimeter was presented. They showed Cody Aubrey Lorntsen with his dog on a leash and three other people entering the home via a side entrance.

About two minutes later, Lorntsen is seen leaving the same way with his dog but no one else while Campbell-Alexander stationed himself at one end of the driveway and opened fire with what was later determined to be a .22-calibre pistol.

A handful of flashes from muzzles are visible on the footage as Lorntsen returned the volleys with blasts from a sawed-off shotgun as he retreated from the scene while Campbell-Alexander used a car as cover.

Lorntsen, who needed a cane to make his way around the courtroom when sentenced in November 2018, was hit in the leg while his dog was shot and killed. Campbell-Alexander, meanwhile, was hit in an ankle with bird shot.

Exactly what sparked the confrontation remains a mystery. Campbell-Alexander was on a cocktail of drugs at the time and has said he remembers little of what happened. Lorntsen, meanwhile, has denied bringing a shotgun into the home and claimed he happened to find one as he retreated, fearing for his life after a man he knew but did not name, called him a "rat goof."

Lorntsen was charged with five offences including discharge of a firearm with intent to wound but was sentenced for possessing a loaded restricted firearm.

Campbell-Alexander, meanwhile had faced seven counts, including attempted murder, but in December 2018 pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm with intent to wound, killing an animal, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm contrary to an order.

During submissions, defence lawyer Jason LeBlond argued for five years less time served and made note of the sentence of four years less time served issued to Lorntsen, effectively arguing his client deserved a extra year because he fired first but no more.

In reaching her decision, judge Susan Mengering made note of the outcome for Lorntsen as well as a six-year term for a man of about the same age for a similar offence committed in Victoria. She also made note of "significant Gladue factors," or factors related the person's Indigenous background that must be taken into account.

Mengering outlined a "disjointed and chaotic childhood" rife with violence, suicide and abuse. By age 17 he was out on the street and had been living in drug houses since then.

Mengering also noted Campbell-Alexander's relative youth and expression of remorse as well as efforts to complete his schooling and learn a trade while in custody.

In the end, Mengering settled on 5 1/2 years less time served prior to sentencing. Campbell-Alexander was also issued a lifetime firearms prohibition and ordered to provide a DNA sample.

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