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Sault gunman was banned from possessing weapons after assaulting cop

The one-year order expired just 10 months ago, in December 2022
Sault Ste. Marie's historic lighted cross is illuminated at dusk Wednesday as Sault Police hold the scene of a tragic intimate partner violence killing that happened at this Tancred Street address two days earlier and further involved three more deaths and an injury at a second home.

The Sault Ste. Marie gunman who shot and killed three young children and a woman before committing suicide was previously prohibited from owning firearms after a 2021 conviction for assaulting a police officer.

The one-year order expired just 10 months ago, in December 2022.

Court records obtained by SooToday show that the 44-year-old gunman was originally charged with resisting arrest, assaulting an officer and mischief in connection with an incident that occurred on Dec. 14, 2019. It was alleged he broke the officer’s eyeglasses in the struggle.

The man ultimately pleaded guilty to assault as part of a plea agreement in December 2021 and received a 12-month probation order, which compelled him “to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.”

Among the conditions in place for one year, the man was not allowed to possess any weapon as defined by the Criminal Code, including firearms, crossbows, ammunition, explosive substances “or anything designed to be used or intended for use to cause death or injury or to threaten or intimidate any person.”

The man was further required to attend and actively participate in assessments, counselling and rehabilitation programs as directed by his parole officer for alcohol abuse. 

Monday’s tragic chain of events began around 10:20 p.m., when the man shot and killed a 41-year-old woman inside a Tancred Street home. He then drove to a house on Second Line East, where he shot three children — aged six, seven and 12 — and another woman before turning the gun on himself. The woman, 45, survived the attack, but police have not disclosed her condition.

Because the shooting rampage was a case of intimate partner violence, Sault Police are also not revealing details that could identify the surviving victim. That includes the name of the killer, the name or genders of the children, and the name of the woman murdered on Tancred. For that reason, SooToday has also chosen not to reveal identities at this time.

At a press conference yesterday, Chief Hugh Stevenson of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service revealed that the gunman was the subject of numerous investigations for intimate partner violence, including a call just days before the killings “that could be perceived as domestic violence.”

Stevenson did not expand on the investigations or confirm if there were any arrests or convictions. He also declined to comment on a media question about the previous conviction for assaulting a Sault Police officer.

A search warrant executed at the Second Line property uncovered two firearms: one handgun and one long gun. Stevenson said forensic and ballistics analyses, along with post-mortem reports, will determine how the firearms were used.

The gunman’s Facebook profile, which is public, portrays him as a family man who spends time with his children and has a love of hunting. At times, he reposted firearms-rights links and memes.

One such meme, posted in 2014, reads: “If the government won't trust me with my guns, I don’t trust them with theirs.”

In February of this year, he posted support for a fundraising effort through his Facebook page for Project Veritas, a far-right non-profit activist group that laid off most of its staff and suspended operations last month.

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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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