Prosecutor challenges shooter's testimony on where he got gun

How a man involved in an exchange of gunfire at a drug house came into possession of the shotgun he wielded has become an issue during a sentencing hearing underway at the Prince George courthouse.

Cody Aubrey Lorntsen faces up to six additional months in jail depending on how B.C. Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church decides on the matter in relation to a confrontation at a 2000-block Tamarack Street home during the early morning of Oct. 22, 2017.

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Video presented Thursday shows Lorntsen and three women entering the home through a side door shortly before 6 a.m. and then Lorntsen leaving a bit more than two minutes later.

By then, a man had stationed himself at one end of a driveway and the video shows Lorntsen and the man firing at each other - a handful of flashes from muzzles are visible - with Lorntsen's adversary using a car as cover.

Lorntsen, who needed a cane to make his way around the courtroom, was hit in the leg. His dog, which was on a leash the whole time, was shot and killed.

Michael Campbell-Alexander faces seven charges, including attempted murder and killing an animal. His case is in the pre-trial stage.

Lorntsen was arrested in Quesnel a bit more than a week after the confrontation and admitted to possessing a shotgun found in the stairwell of the apartment building where he had been found. But during testimony Thursday, he denied bringing it with him into the house.

Rather, he said he spotted the weapon tucked between the arm and a cushion of a couch just as Campbell-Alexander and another man began to confront him. The two had accused him of being a "rat-goof," and suggested they mess him up, Lorntsen testified.

He said he grabbed the shotgun just as the man had looked at Campbell-Alexander, who in turn left the home through another door.

"I acted fast and I grabbed the gun and held it to my side and said 'nobody's touching me, I wanna just leave," he told the court. "And I left out of the house and wasn't paying attention and that's when I got shot and panicked."

Video from a day before show Lorntsen entering Wholesale Sports to buy a stock with a pistol grip. Lorntsen agreed it was the same stock on the gun he fired but maintained he bought it for someone else after dropping by the home and it just so happened to be the one he found tucked into the couch.

During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Tyler Bauman challenged the veracity of Lorntsen's story, saying it was "pretty convenient" and difficult to believe. He suggested Lornsten had hung onto the gun to protect himself because he knew he was at odds with some adversaries.

Lorntsen maintained he was simply lucky to come across a loaded shotgun at the right time.

"The reason why it would be loaded and stuff, because usually in a shack, like everyone would know there would be a one gun by the door," Lorntsen also said. "They usually have a door guy at every drug house that I've known."

Lorntsen said he had been on his way out of town when he happened to come across the three women and they asked him where they could buy some methamphetamine. He guided them to the house and when he got there, thought he might be able to score some himself despite a lack of money.

But Bauman contended the video showed Lorntsen "hanging back" as they got to the home with the women knocking on the door and then a window before they were let in, with Lorntsen the third to enter.

Lorntsen disagreed with Bauman's suggestion the women had been there before. He said the three had gone to a back room after they had all gone up the stairs and was surprised to come across Campbell-Alexander and the other man.

"They were probably surprised too," he said.

The video showed Lornsten with a small backpack on his back and carrying a bag in one had and his other hand on the leash leading to his dog. During submissions, defence lawyer Talia Magder argued the bag was too small to hold a shotgun and Bowman disagreed.

After making his escape, Lorntsen said he wrapped his leg with some clothes from his bag and shoved the shotgun down a leg of his pants. He said he went to a friend's home but was told to leave so he made his way to Quesnel where he said another friend gave him a bag and some more ammunition before also turning him back out onto the street.

Much of Lornsten's testimony contradicted the statements he gave to police, Bauman said. Lorntsen contended he was coming down on drugs, was sleeping in the bushes and was reluctant to give police the whole story because he was afraid for his life.

Submissions on sentencing in particular will be given Friday morning. Church said she hoped to issue a decision in the afternoon.

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