Man charged in Winnipeg shootings has deadly history

WINNIPEG – A young man charged in connection with two tragic shootings in Winnipeg this week – shootings that left one teenager dead and two young girls injured – was also involved in the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy in February 2008.

The newly revealed information offers a glimpse into the past of the 19-year-old gang member who is among those at the centre of shootings that have shaken the city and its West End neighbourhood this past week.

At the time of the earlier shooting, the then-17-year-old had broken into a garage with a 13-year-old named Cody Shuya.

After the two fought over a loaded pellet gun left there, the gun fired and shot Shuya’s eye, fatally damaging his brain.

The older teen pleaded guilty in 2008 to careless use of a firearm.

Now 19, the man is not being identified because the Youth Criminal Justice Act forbids identifying a person when their criminal record as a youth is reported.

He’s charged in connection with the aftermath of a shooting this week that killed a 16-year-old boy and a shooting that hurt the other children. Police say the two incidents are related.

On Tuesday afternoon, two gunmen firing at least 15 bullets hit Kyle Earl, 16, and Byron Cook, 13, as they sat on a porch in the West End.

Earl died and Cook was injured.

The 19-year-old, who was apparently nearby, allegedly ran on foot after Earl’s two killers – who have yet to be arrested -and fired several shots that struck two vehicles.

The vehicles were apparently not involved in the shooting and no occupants were injured, police said.

The 19-year-old is now charged with attempted murder for firing at the vehicles, say police.

A little more than 24 hours later, on Wednesday evening, three shots were fired into the front window of the same neighbourhood.

A 10-year-old girl was hit in the leg and an eight-year-old girl was grazed in the head by flying debris. Police say the girls were not the intended targets. The 19-year-old is now charged with attempted murder in that incident.

"Thank God these kids weren’t killed. That could easily have happened," said Winnipeg police Chief Keith McCaskill

At the time of the two shootings this week, the 19-year-old man was out on bail for a previous break-and-enter. He’s also been convicted several times for breaching his sentence in relation to Shuya’s death and was under a court-ordered weapons ban.

Police have arrested a 14-year-old boy who is alleged to have been with the 19-year-old during Wednesday’s shooting.

The tall, angular 19-year-old appeared briefly in court Friday. He is connected to West End gangs and has posted online messages praising gang life.

Also Friday, Manitoba’s Opposition Conservatives said the governing NDP needs to make good on a promise to fund 130 new police officers in light of the deadly week of gun violence on the streets of Winnipeg.

The NDP promised during the 2007 provincial election campaign to increase the number of police officers in Manitoba by 100, including 50 in Winnipeg. A couple of years ago, the federal government sent Manitoba a $14.4-million cheque to add 15 city officers and the same number outside of Winnipeg.

Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said so far, the government has delivered only 64 new officers – 66 less than promised.

"We’re calling on the NDP to move forward and keep their promise to hire the 130 additional officers in order to restore a sense of safety in our communities," McFadyen told reporters Friday.

"Broken promises aren’t keeping our streets safe," he said. "We need those new officers now."

Premier Greg Selinger defended his government’s record, saying the province is funding an additional 13 city officers this year plus the operating costs of a new police helicopter, which is expected to take to the sky several months from now. As well, it has announced funding for 30 police cadets, who will free regular officers from some of their more mundane tasks.

– with files from Larry Kusch, Winnipeg Free Press

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