Alberta man who shot at 6 Mounties sentenced to 6½ years

An Alberta man who was in a mental-health crisis when he assaulted his father and shot at six RCMP officers in 2018 received a 6½-year sentence Friday.

Destry Sayine, 30, pleaded guilty earlier this year to endangering the lives of six Mounties, assaulting his father, and two weapons offences.

“There were real lives put at risk because of this behaviour,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Henderson said during Friday’s sentencing.

6 to 8 shots fired

Sayine was living above a garage on a rural Sturgeon County property, while the rest of his family, including his parents, lived in the house, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Around 4 a.m. on March 18, 2018, he was drinking and got into a fight with his father in the garage. 

Sayine pushed his father against a wall, hit him several times and kicked him in the ribs. 

His mother called RCMP and told them about the assault, and said her son was suicidal. Mounties were assured there were no firearms on the property.

Officers who went to the property carried a ballistic shield and wore tactical gear, including helmets and armoured plates on their chests and backs.

They used a battering ram to open a locked door to the garage.

Sayine was standing at the top of the stairs on the second floor of the garage. 

He fired six to eight shots in quick succession, aiming at the officers. 

A court exhibit photo showed the trajectory of a bullet aimed at RCMP officers’ heads. (Court exhibit/RCMP)

Police did not return fire and no officers were injured. RCMP negotiators ended the standoff and Sayine surrendered peacefully.

Investigators later found a bullet hole at head height in the wall behind where two Mounties had been. The ballistic shield was also struck with a bullet.

Sayine had been armed with a Ruger .22 semi-automatic rifle, a prohibited weapon. 

Because of a previous conviction, he was prohibited from owning firearms. 

Gladue report described difficult upbringing

Sayine has been in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre since he was arrested the day of the incident. 

According to a Gladue report, Sayine had a difficult upbringing that involved physical and sexual abuse, family addiction issues and intergenerational trauma.

Gladue reports take their name from a 1999 Supreme Court decision that found judges must take an Indigenous person’s background and historical factors into account during sentencing and consideration of alternatives to incarceration.

When RCMP entered the garage, Destry Sayine was standing at the top of the stairs. (Court exhibit/RCMP)

Sayine’s grandparents, who raised him until he was 11, and his parents are all residential school survivors, Henderson told court.

The judge said all of those factors led to a “diminished moral culpability.”

The Crown had asked for a 10-year sentence, while the defence had asked for 5½ years to be followed by three years of probation.

Henderson sentenced Sayine to 6½ years but gave him credit for time served and additional credit for spending time behind bars during the COVID-19 pandemic. He will serve one more year in jail. 

He was also sentenced to two years probation and a lifetime ban on owning firearms. 

“I’m OK with that,” Sayine said of the firearm ban.

He must also submit a DNA sample while in custody.

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