Fourth arrested in Thanksgiving weekend bear spray attack

Austin M.
Austin M. Davis
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The fourth suspect in a Thanksgiving weekend break and enter and assault was arrested in Regina on Wednesday.

Sergeant Randy Jesse of the Moose Jaw Police Service Criminal Investigation Unit said the four male youths were using the gang name “Black Dragons” at the time of the offence.

“This group did operate for a short period of time in the more traditional youth gang sense of having a name and wearing certain colours,” Jesse said.

Jesse said he was not familiar with the gang name before Oct. 13 when the four accused allegedly entered a residence with firearms and demanded money from an adult male before spraying him in the face with bear spray.

The charged youths cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The three Moose Jaw youths were arrested and charged shortly after the incident.

The Regina youth was arrested on outstanding warrants in Regina.

He was charged with numerous weapon-related offences including pointing a firearm, possession of a firearm, wearing a disguise while committing an offence, assault with a weapon and break and enter. He was in custody in Regina and will appear in Moose Jaw court at a later date.

The Regina youth was in Moose Jaw at the time of the offence, Jesse said, because of his connection to this alleged gang. Gangs in different Saskatchewan cities are loosely affiliated with one another.

Circumstances brought these four youths together to commit the offence on the 700 block of Second Avenue Northwest. Jesse said vulnerability was the common denominator between the youths.

“For some of these vulnerable youth, gang life is attractive to them,” Jesse said. “It’s made romantic by MTV videos, television and hipster music.

“As they call it, the ‘thug life’ is attractive to vulnerable youths. When those opportunities present themselves, some kids just grab on to it.”

Jesse said gang activity supplies a sense of belonging for kids who may not receive that in their lives at home. That vulnerability bands kids together.

Despite those conditions, Jesse said youth gang activity in Moose Jaw is under control.

“Because of the dedicated and combined response that we gave to the one over the Thanksgiving weekend, I think it had a real effect on further gang activity,” Jesse said.

The police service combined with school boards, community groups and social agencies to address the potential threat of further youth criminal activity.

Jesse said the number of youths involved in gang activity in Moose Jaw fluctuates.

He said there are vulnerable youths in every community and advised parents to be vigilant of their child’s friend group.

“It doesn’t take long for things to go sideways and suddenly a child that maybe would’ve never done this kind of stuff is now involved in gang life and making very bad decisions and exposed to alcohol and drugs,” Jesse said.

Follow Austin M. Davis on Twitter @theaustinx.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Police Service Criminal Investigation Unit

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatchewan Second Avenue Northwest.

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