A plot to take down a rival gang’s drug house led to Mark Enwaya’s death at the hands of teenaged gunmen in Saskatoon.
Enwaya, 31, immigrated to Canada from Iraq and had just finished a shift at Star Egg on the evening of March 12, 2019. He drove from his workplace to the back alley of Avenue Q South near 22nd Street West, court heard during a sentencing hearing for his two attackers Thursday.
The 15-year-old shooter carried a handgun, while the 17-year-old brandished a sawed-off rifle. As members of the Hustle Crew gang, they were looking to “shut down” the drug house, Crown prosecutor Ainsley Furlonger said.
The teens and Enwaya, not knowing each other, approached the house at the same time. While there are conflicting accounts of what happened, there was a confrontation at the door of the home before the 15-year-old shot Enwaya multiple times — including a fatal blow to the 31-year-old’s chest.
Video surveillance showed the teens running away. Enwaya died at the scene.
The killing had a devastating impact on a family of newcomers.
“The family, who gave up everything they had in Iraq for a better life in Canada, will now likely regret that move for the rest of their lives,” Furlonger said.
Enwaya’s family was present for the sentencing hearing. Court heard the victim spoke English and often translated for them. His income supported his two parents who were not employed.
“Their past has been full of challenges, and in a period of about 15 minutes, their whole future was rewritten,” according to the Crown.
The victim had not been involved in the criminal justice system, Furlonger said, though she stated it could be inferred that he was at the house to buy some type of drug.
Both of the attackers pleaded guilty in August. The older one received a three-year sentence for manslaughter Thursday, while the younger received a six-year sentence.
Each received an Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) sentence, of which two-thirds is spent in custody while one third is served under supervision in the community. IRCS sentences are designed for youth with mental health issues who commit violence crimes.
Because they were under 18 at the time of the shooting, media cannot identify either gunman due to provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Both teens had backgrounds coloured by trauma. At one point in his life, the 17-year-old was stabbed and left for dead. He’s been diagnosed with numerous mental health conditions.
Years before the 15-year-old shot Enwaya, he saw his friend get shot and killed while playing video games, according to defence lawyer Rylund Hunter.
In court, the teen apologized to Enwaya’s family, stating, “I was a dumb 15-year-old on drugs.”
“In a split second, I took a life,” he said.
Judge Sanjeev Anand spoke directly to the victim’s family saying Canada values them. To the accused, Anand’s parting words included: “the face of your victim should be something you think about every day.”