Skip to main content

Gang-affiliated inmate who shot rival in the face dies in custody in B.C.

Prison
Share

A Saskatchewan drug dealer who was serving a lengthy sentence for attempted murder in a maximum security prison in B.C.'s Fraser Valley has died.

Dale Ahpay was an inmate at Kent Institution in Agassiz. He died in the custody of Correctional Service Canada on Saturday, according to a statement from the agency.

The CSC did not say how Ahpay died, nor did it specify whether he was on the institution's premises at the time of his death.

An inmate was airlifted to hospital from the facility on Nov. 20 after an assault. Two days after this story was published, the CSC confirmed to CTV News that Ahpay was the assaulted inmate. The Lower Mainland's Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has taken over the case.

At the time of his death, Ahpay was serving a sentence of 12 years and nine months for attempted murder, possession of a prohibited/restricted firearm with ammunition, carrying a concealed weapon and other offences, according to the correctional service. His sentence commenced on May 11, 2018.

THE ATTEMPTED MURDER

Though not referenced in the CSC's statement, the sentencing decision in Ahpay's case is available online

According to the decision, Ahpay's offences occurred in June 2015 in Saskatoon. He was walking around "some of the rougher areas" of the city's west side, "possibly high" and "with drug sales on his mind," when he encountered a group of men outside a building.

The judge in the case notes that Ahpay was either a member of or affiliated with a gang, and that the men he encountered may have been gang members or associates, "or just out for trouble."

Regardless, Ahpay showed them the sawed-off, 12-gauge shotgun that he carried around "for protection," and the men went inside, according to the decision. Soon after, however, Ahpay found himself being chased down an alley by three men, one of whom fired at him with a sawed-off rifle.

Ahpay returned fire, hitting his eventual victim – Devon Cyr – twice. The three men ran off, with Cyr splitting off from the rest of the group.

"Mr. Cyr turned from the alley into a yard, abandoning his weapon by the alley," the decision reads. "It turned out the yard was a dead end and Mr. Cyr was trapped in a corner. Shot, bleeding, Mr. Cyr was down and out. He was either crouched or on his knees, and (according to Mr. Ahpay) was crying and begging for his life. At close range, Mr. Ahpay deliberately shot Mr. Cyr in the centre of his face."

Ahpay believed he had killed Cyr, and the judge found he likely would have if his shotgun had been loaded with something heavier than the duck shot it contained.

"Amazingly, Mr. Cyr lived," the decision reads.

'A CYCLE OF CRIME AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE'

Ahpay was found guilty of 12 counts, including attempted murder, and the judge concluded that the "cold, callous method" of the attempt was an aggravating factor. His gang affiliations and lengthy criminal record – which dated back to age 15 and included multiple previous firearms convictions and prohibitions – were also considered aggravating.

Mitigating factors in Ahpay's case included his upbringing. A member of Yellow Quill First Nation, he was born in Saskatoon, but spent some of his youth on Fishing Lake First Nation, according to the decision. He told the court his mother was loving, but his father was abusive. He recalled being sent to Muscowequan Residential School sometime between the ages of five and seven.

At the school, he was sexually abused by an employee. He also began using alcohol and marijuana. Drug dependency would be a theme throughout his life, and the judge described him as "a person caught in a cycle of crime and substance abuse."

The judge also considered Ahpay's expression of remorse for his crimes a mitigating factor, noting that his behaviour in custody had shown improvement in the days leading up to his sentencing.

"The information now before me suggests he would like to break that cycle, but lacks the internal resources (and perhaps even the will) to do so," the decision reads. "Hopefully, if he obtains assistance through programming and counselling, he can do so."

Ahpay's relative youth – he was 30 at the time of the offence and 33 at the time of sentencing – was also a mitigating factor.

The judge settled on a total sentence of 17 years incarceration, the bulk of it – 14 years – stemming from the attempted murder conviction. With credit for time served, Ahpay was sentenced to 12 years and nine months. He was five years and six months into his sentence at the time of his death.

The CSC said Ahpay's next of kin has been notified of his death.

"As in all cases involving the death of an inmate, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) will review the circumstances," the service said. "CSC policy requires that the police and the coroner be notified." 

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

opinion

opinion 5 reasons not to invest in mutual funds

Traditionally, mutual funds have stood as a go-to investment strategy for those looking to grow their wealth without the effort of stock-picking. But financial columnist Christopher Liew outlines some reasons why mutual funds often aren’t the golden ticket they're made out to be, especially in Canada.

Stay Connected