Pond man gets five years for shooting rampage

Six-year-old child nearly struck by bullet



Rueben Sangoya, 20, was sentenced April 4 to five years in jail for a July 20, 2001 shooting rampage in Pond Inlet.

Sangoya ran amok for three hours, firing at two RCMP officers, a local boy, and nearly hit a six-year-old child.

Bullet holes left in Pond Inlet’s RCMP building and two nearby staff houses serve as a grim reminder of the incident, which began at 7 a.m. that morning, after an argument between Sangoya, then 19, and his girlfriend.

Sangoya pleaded guilty to endangering lives by discharging a firearm, pointing a firearm and mischief. The endangering charge comes with a four-year minimum sentence.

Const. Louis Jenvenne described the rampage, starting from the hilltop where Sangoya fired the first 20 of 35 rounds. Miraculously, no one was hit or injured.

“Look at the distance,” Jenvenne said, pointing to buildings several hundred metres below. Jenvenne’s house was the second building hit. Neither he nor his family were home at the time.

The first 13 shots hit Cpl. Grant MacDonald’s house. MacDonald was at home sleeping when Sangoya fired his first shots.

Sangoya aimed at doors and windows — areas where people might be standing or sleeping, court records say.

Sangoya borrowed a .223 Remington rifle and a Magnum Marlin rifle from his grandmother, saying he was going seal-hunting.

One resident who saw Sangoya running down the road with the firearms thought whales had been spotted in the bay.

For two hours Sangoya, an experienced hunter, roamed the unpaved streets. He shot at a boy who was out for a walk with a video camera. The bullet flew over the boy’s head. The videotape, which captured some of the incident, was entered as evidence.

Court records show that Sangoya was sober. He shot at several more people, but missed.

In one case, he fired at MacDonald after the officer told him to drop the weapons. The bullet missed MacDonald, but pierced the wall of a house where a six-year-old was playing.

“It was close. How close? There was dry wall dust on the child’s forehead,” Jenvenne said.

Sangoya silenced a barking dog with a single shot. By the time a relative convinced the teen to surrender, buildings, vehicles, and satellite dishes were riddled with bullet holes. Sangoya was arrested at his grandmother’s house.

Sangoya’s reason for targeting police was briefly raised in Justice Robert Kilpatrick’s reasons for judgment.

“He was angry at his girlfriend. He was angry at the world,” Kilpatrick said.

In imposing the sentence, Kilpatrick listed several aggravating factors.

“Rueben deliberately sought out the firearms with a view to immediately using them in the community… The incident cannot be characterized as a momentary lack of judgment, an impulsive act, or a crime of passion. The incident did not involve a single discharge of a firearm, but many,” Kilpatrick said.

“He discharged the firearms with a view to endangering human life. I do not accept [his] claim that he did not fully understand the seriousness of his actions.”

Jenvenne knew the outcome could have been much worse.

“The potential for death was very, very high. Grant could have been killed, that boy could have been killed,” he said listing several other possible fatalities.

Sangoya will be prohibited from owning a firearm for 10 years after his prison sentence ends.

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