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Gun violence in Battlefords on the rise, says prosecutor

'Fear leads some Indigenous men to arm themselves': Defence Counsel
Judge Ian Mokuruk reserved his sentencing decision in North Battleford Provincial Court until May 13.

NORTH BATTLEFORD – Gun violence is increasing in the Battlefords, Crown Prosecutor Keltie Coupar said during a sentencing hearing for Conner Dreaver Monday.

Dreaver, now 25, was charged with weapons-related offences, including illegally carrying a concealed, loaded firearm in the streets of North Battleford.

“It seems like every day there is a new headline,” Coupar told the court when asking for jail time for the accused.

On Dec. 13, 2023, Battlefords RCMP Gang Task Force noticed Dreaver walking in an alley in North Battleford and knew that he was wanted at the time. They tried to arrest him but Dreaver fled on foot.

Officers caught up to him and he pulled out a concealed firearm before fleeing. He dropped the firearm as he was fleeing and officers picked it up.

Two days later, police spotted him walking in North Battleford and go inside a nearby home on 105 Street. The Saskatchewan RCMP Critical Incident Response Team helped arrest him. Dreaver had barricaded himself inside the home and only came out after he was tear gassed, said Coupar.

At the time, Dreaver was serving a conditional sentence in the community. He has remained in custody since his arrest in December and appeared by CCTV from the correctional centre.

Defence counsel Andrew Lister said he agrees there is an increase in firearms related offences in the Battlefords.

He said his client understands it’s not acceptable to walk around with a loaded firearm but was carrying it for protection.

“He did not use the gun for violence, he did not use it to intimidate or point it at anyone.”

Lister said North Battleford is a more dangerous place for young First Nations men.

“Fear leads some Indigenous men to arm themselves," he said.

Judge Ian Mokuruk reserved his sentencing decision until May 13.

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