A man who shot at police officers at a rural property in Sturgeon County has been sentenced to six-and-a-half-years behind bars.
On May 28 Justice John Henderson at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton handed Destry Sayine the sentence, saying the incident could have been “catastrophic.”
“‘It is extremely fortunate that no one was directly injured as a result of these shots,” Henderson said.
During the incident one shot hit a police officer's shield, while another hit a wall above another officer's head.
“Shooting at police is extremely serious,” Henderson said.
Sayine, 30, was originally charged with a slew of offences, including the attempted murder of six RCMP officers, after the event that took place in his home in Sturgeon County.
In February Sayine entered five guilty pleas to charges he faced from the incident. Sayine pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm at a person with intent to wound, maim, disfigure or to endanger the life of. He also entered guilty pleas to possessing a firearm without a licence, assault, breaching a recognizance by possessing ammunition, and possessing a weapon while under a mandatory weapons prohibition order.
The Crown had asked for 10 years behind bars, while Sayine’s defence counsel wanted five-and-a-half years, which would amount to time served, and three years' probation.
“There were many police officers present whose lives were put at risk, a police dog was put at risk, multiple shots were fired and the result of the shooting could have been catastrophic,” Henderson said.
On May 19, court heard in an agreed statement of facts police were called to a house in Sturgeon County at around 5 a.m. on March 18, 2018, after Sayine and his father got into a physical altercation.
When RCMP responded, they were told Sayine had been drinking and was suicidal.
When the RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) arrived at around 8:45 a.m, Sayine was in the garage with his girlfriend. The ERT officers entered the garage to attempt to ensure the safety of both Sayine and his girlfriend.
They were able to remove Sayine's girlfriend a short time later. When officer asked Sayine to come down from a garage staircase, he began to yell, then fired a gun toward the doorway where officers were positioned.
"Police members heard between six to eight shots in quick succession," the statement read.
Officers then retreated, and threw a gas canister into the large garage space. Police said Sayine fired one or two more shots.
ERT members took cover behind a police vehicle until a tactical vehicle arrived on the scene.
Sayine ultimately surrendered peacefully at around 1:40 p.m.
Police searched the garage and found a semi-automatic .22 calibre long rifle.
Crown prosecutor Patricia Hankinson said on May 19 Sayine had a criminal record that includes violent offences. At the time, he was bound by a recognizance, and he assaulted his father before the police arrived.
Hankinson said he pleaded guilty before the matter went to a trial, he expressed remorse, and he has a desire to seek counselling for his trauma and addictions. Sayine also has a family history of intergenerational trauma, physical abuse, and substance abuse. Members of Sayine’s family were forced to attend residential schools.
Through his childhood, Sayine, who is from a Dene community in the Northwest Territories, was sexually and physically abused and tried to protect his sisters from the same abuse.
Sayine will get credit for time served. He has been behind bars since the event unfolded in March of 2018.
Sayine was given six years for discharging a firearm at a person with intent to wound, maim, disfigure or to endanger the life of and another half a year for breaching a firearms prohibition.
With time served, Sayine will have another 12 months to serve and then he will be given two months' probation with a lifetime firearm prohibition.
Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette