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Drive-by case back to police

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 07/05) - A drive-by shooting case is back in police hands after four charges were dropped and four others, including two counts of attempted murder, were stayed.

On Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Loretta Colton withdrew four remaining charges against Randon Ducharme, 19, of Edmonton. Charges dropped were one count of possession of crack cocaine and three weapons offences. The move comes two weeks after two charges of attempted murder and two counts of possession of a weapon filed against Ducharme Nov. 6 were stayed.

Ducharme had pleaded not guilty to the four allegations that were dropped yesterday. He was released from custody Nov. 22 on a $5,000 bond.

All charges were filed in connection with a Nov. 6 incident when shots were fired at two men standing outside the Raven Pub. Neither man was hurt in the attack.

Charges that have been stayed can be brought back before the court within a year.

Colton said Friday she could not discuss the reasons behind the decision to stay the attempted murder charges.

"It's an ongoing matter so I can't really get into talking about the evidence," she said.

Sgt. Darcy Fleury said Tuesday the RCMP investigation into the shooting would continue.

Police have other suspects in the case and more charges could be laid in the future, he said.

When asked why Ducharme was charged in the first place, Fleury said the 19-year-old was believed to be "in control" of the suspect vehicle.

The shooting sent shockwaves through Yellowknife.

At the time, police said it could be connected to a turf battle between Alberta-based drug dealers hoping to profit from a vacuum in the crack cocaine market.

Thirty-one people were arrested in October during Operation Gunship, a massive sweep that targeted high-level drug dealers, according to police.