By Delon Shurtz on July 22, 2021.
Cindy Day Rider is still living in a nightmare, more than a year after her younger brother was shot and nearly killed while he slept beside his girlfriend.
“I can still remember that night vividly,” Day Rider said Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court, where she read aloud her victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing for Kyle Lewis Crow Chief.
Between sobs of grief, Day Rider recalled the horrific shooting during the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2019, and the devastating impact on her family. She said she had been happy for her brother, Jesse Day Rider, because he had finally found in Sheena Sugai someone with whom he could share his life, then everything changed when he was shot by Crow Chief in a cowardly act spawned by jealousy.
Crow Chief and Sugai had been a couple, but had split up only two months before the shooting.
Cindy Day Rider said Crow Chief couldn’t handle the break up, or accept that “life moves on.” She said,Â “if he couldn’t be happy, then no one else could be happy.”
Crow Chief fled to Edmonton after the shooting, but was found several days later and charged with attempted murder. The charge was withdrawn after the offender pleaded guilty last October to the lesser charges ofÂ break and enter to commit aggravated assault, and discharging a firearm to wound, maim, disfigure or endanger life.
He was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in a federal penitentiary, a sentence jointly recommended by the Crown and defence.
During the hearing in October, court was told that Crow Chief, after learning on Dec. 6, 2019 that Sugai was in a relationship with Jesse Day Rider, went into her house about 2:20 a.m. the following day, entered her bedroom and found her and 41-year-old Day Rider asleep in bed. He shot Day Rider in the head, then shot the unconscious man again in the shoulder.
Day Rider suffered a life-threatening brain injury and was taken by ambulance to Fort Macleod then transferred by the STARS air ambulance to Calgary. He remained on life support for several months and requires 24-hour care as he remains confined to a bed or wheelchair, with no expectation for improvement.
Crow Chief provided a statement to police after the incident and blamed Sugai for the shooting, claiming she had been unfaithful and had lied to him. He said had she been honest with him, he may have handled things differently.
Cindy Day Rider said Crow Chief, who sat nearby in the prisoner’s dock during the sentencing hearing, didn’t show any guilt or remorse, and still blames Jesse and Sugai.
However, Calgary lawyer Balfour Der said Crow Chief is “very sorry for the injuries to the victim,” and quoted his client from a psychiatric and psychological report in which Crow Chief says, “there are days that I kind of think I wish it was me who took this bullet.”
In addition to Crow Chief’s prison sentence, which was reduced by 51 days for time spent in pre-trial custody, he must submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Databank. Crow Chief, who is considered to be a low risk to re-offend, is also prohibited from possessing weapons for the rest of his life.
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