A suspect who quite literally dodged a bullet while running from police has been sentenced after pleading guilty to five of 15 charges laid against him.
At about 10 p.m. on April 29, 2o15, Red Deer RCMP were dispatched into the downtown area to track down two suspects after reports of an armed robbery at Jackpot Casino, located at Ross Street and 47th Ave.
One of the Mounties dispatched to the scene saw a suspicious man walking in the area, got out of his police car and asked him to stop and talk, Crown prosecutor Ed Ring said in reading an agreed statement of facts for Judge John Holmes in Red Deer provincial court on Wednesday.
The man continued to walk away, but then spun around and aimed a shotgun at the police officer pursuing him.
The Mountie immediately pulled out his service revolver in an attempt to defend himself. It misfired and the suspect fled.
Additional police called to assist later found a sawed-off Mossberg 88 shotgun, loaded with three shells, discarded near the Central Middle School.
A tip from a citizen led police to the garbage bins behind the Plaza shopping centre. A suspect was found inside one of the bins, but refused to some out.
One of the senior Mounties attending the incident got inside the bin and scuffled with the suspect, who was handcuffed and then removed from the bin said Ring.
Stephen Gibbon, now 37, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of pointing a firearm, unauthorized possession of a prohibited firearm, assaulting a police officer while armed, resisting arrest and two counts of breaching release conditions.
Gibbon now understands that he has to turn his life around and has made plans to get help after he completes his sentence, defence counsel Andrew Phypers told the court during sentencing submissions.
“He heard the officer’s gun went ‘click click’ and didn’t fire,” said Phypers.
“This had a significant impact on Mr. Gibbon. He knows it’s just a matter of fate that prevented him from being dead on the sidewalk that evening.”
Investigators later found that the shotgun was not working properly and had to be repaired before they could get it to fire, said Phypers.
In a joint submission drafted for the court, Phyper and Ring proposed a sentence of 25.5 months, minus 24 months of credit for the time Gibbon has spent in custody awaiting trial.
Holmes accepted the proposal, expressing that the sentence would have been closer to 36 months had Gibbon been convicted at trial and noting
Ring’s remarks that the case may have been difficult to prove because of potential issues with identifying Gibbon as the man who had been packing the shotgun.
In addition to the sentence, Gibbon is prohibited from possessing firearms for the balance of his life and was ordered to provide a sample of his DNA for the RCMP’s national database.