A single bullet to the back during a failed robbery ended the life of Gilbert Kagabo, a Saskatoon teenager who was a source of joy for a family new to the community.
The 15-year-old was shot as he ran away during an attempted drug-related robbery around noon on Nov. 2, 2019. He died in the vestibule of an Arlington Avenue Teachers Credit Union building, according to the facts of the case read by Crown prosecutor Tyla Olenchuk during a sentencing hearing.
“The family no longer feels like Saskatoon is a safe place,” Olenchuk said, referencing a pre-sentence report statement from Kagabo’s mother.
“His mother said they will never forget (Gilbert) and all the goodness in him.”
Olenchuk presented the facts via video during a live-streamed hearing. The victim’s family followed along with the help of an interpreter.
Court heard surveillance video showed Kagabo in the ATM vestibule of the credit union, coming and going multiple times around 11:40 a.m. on a Saturday.
Surveillance video also showed one of the co-accused make a gesture to draw Kagabo out of the building around noon.
A witness told police that from an alley near the bank, he saw one of the co-accused hiding, wearing a bandana as a mask. He pulled a gun from his pants and confronted Kagabo when he arrived in the alley. The accused pointed the weapon in the 15-year-old’s face.
“Gilbert swatted the gun away and a small struggle started,” Olenchuk told court, which led to the gunshot.
After running away and being hit by the bullet, the victim limped back to the credit union. He was seen sitting in a chair before falling to the floor.
The shooters gathered inside a vehicle in the back alley, and a witness said that’s when he learned there had been a plan to rob Kagabo of drugs. None were taken, but various drugs and cellphones were found on the victim’s body.
In the days following the shooting, police arrested the gunman. Executing a search warrant at his home, officers found two .22 calibre bullets in his dresser drawer, along with a spent casing.
The gun was never found. Police received a report that the shooter posted on Snapchat, advertising he had a “toolie” — slang for a gun — for sale, court heard.
Following the shooting, Kagabo’s family granted permission to Global News to publish the victim’s name. The three teens charged in the case can’t be identified because they are young offenders, now aged 16, 17 and 18 years old.
Each of the co-accused has pleaded guilty.
The shooter, currently 16, received a seven-year sentence including mandatory treatment, followed by a period in the community under supervision. Judge Marilyn Grey accepted a joint-submission from the Crown and defence that, with credit for time served, would see him spend three more years in custody followed by two years in the community.
The 18-year-old, who admitted to committing robbery, received a three-year sentence for robbery, including two years in custody and one year under supervision. His sentence was also the result of a joint-submission.
In the only contested sentence of the case, Judge Marilyn Gray reserved her decision for the 17-year-old who admitted to manslaughter. The sentence is expected to be handed down on March 25.