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Man who wounded Winnipeg police officers in shootout at his home apologizes

WINNIPEG - He shot blindly through a bathroom door following a police raid at his Winnipeg home, wounding two officers before surrendering.

WINNIPEG - He shot blindly through a bathroom door following a police raid at his Winnipeg home, wounding two officers before surrendering.

Now more than two years later and facing up to 20 years behind bars, Daniell Anderson apologized to his victims Thursday while a judge mulls his fate.

"It was my mistake and everybody must pay for it for the rest of their lives and live with the injuries I have inflicted," Anderson told his sentencing hearing Thursday in a calm, unemotional voice.

"I wish I could go back to that night and take it all back but that is not possible. I would like to apologize to everyone that was affected by that night. I'm sorry."

The Crown is asking that Anderson be sentenced to 20 years in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. But his defence lawyers say seven years is enough for someone who didn't realize he was shooting at police.

Justice Douglas Abra is expected to sentence Anderson on Tuesday.

Police were executing a drug search warrant in December 2006 and officers had identified themselves when they entered the house.

Anderson told his trial he never heard the warnings because he was watching a loud movie and he assumed the officers were thieves.

He said he grabbed a shotgun, ran to a bathroom and accidentally discharged the weapon twice before firing through the bathroom door. One officer was shot in the stomach, another in the forearm. A third officer was hit by a ricocheting bullet.

Anderson was found guilty last year of attempted murder and firing a gun with intent to wound. He tried unsuccessfully to have his conviction overturned by claiming police used excessive force.

Crown attorney Brian Bell called Anderson a "drug abuser" who only wanted to protect his stash when he clashed with police. Despite his late apology, Bell said Anderson has never shown any remorse, except for the impact the shooting has had on him and his family.

Anderson is at a "high risk to reoffend" and his sentence should send a strong message to the community, Bell said.

"These officers were acting in a lawful execution of their duty," he said. "This is their job. Inside the house, they were ambushed. Any reasonable member of society would find these actions abhorrent and intolerable."

But Anderson's defence lawyer Roberta Campbell argued 20 years in jail was "completely out of line with the facts" in this case.

Anderson did not realize he was shooting at police and put down his gun when he saw the injured officers, she said. He doesn't have a history of violence and his actions weren't premeditated, Campbell added.

He's also very sorry for his actions and his sentence shouldn't be "so punitive that any chance for rehabilitation is destroyed," she told the court.

"He wants to get a job," she said. "He doesn't want to live a criminal lifestyle."

Police are looking for a stiff sentence that takes into account the suffering of the officers, one of whom hasn't been able to return to full service yet.

Winnipeg police Chief Keith McCaskell, who attended the hearing, said he's confident the judge will weigh the evidence carefully and come to the right conclusion.

"It was a horrendous offence, this attack on officers," he said. "Talking about penalty, I think it has to be a significant one. I think the court understands that."

Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, said he's watched as one of the injured officers underwent months of surgery and skin grafts to replace tissue on his forearm that had been blown off.

Twenty years in jail is "eminently reasonable," he said.

"These officers and their families have gone through a lot. And why? Because you have a drug user, a drug dealer who decided that he wasn't going to get arrested."

 
 
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