An Edmonton man is facing multiple charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence for allegedly trafficking the gun a teen used to kill two police officers last spring.
The charges against Dennis Okeymow, announced Wednesday, relate to the shootings of constables Brett Ryan and Travis Jordan on March 16, when they were responding to a west Edmonton apartment for a report of a woman having trouble with her 16-year-old son. The teen killed the officers, shot and injured his mother, and then killed himself.
Police subsequently concluded the teen had used the same gun to shoot a 55-year-old man at a nearby pizza place four days earlier. That victim, an employee at the restaurant, survived but was seriously injured.
Staff Sergeant Eric Stewart said Mr. Okeymow’s charges were the result of a “very lengthy, complex investigation” into the most complicated and tragic file he’s ever worked on.
Mr. Okeymow, 19, is facing three manslaughter charges and three charges of criminal negligence causing death for allegedly selling the gun to the teen. The charges relate to the deaths of both officers and to the teen’s suicide.
“You get involved in firearms trafficking and you traffic firearms, I think there’s no excuses,” said Staff Sgt. Stewart, speaking to reporters at a press conference Wednesday. “You ought to know what’s going to happen once you put those firearms into somebody’s hands that shouldn’t have firearms.”
Mr. Okeymow also faces two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm related to the injured restaurant employee and the teen’s mother, as well as additional charges related to trafficking both drugs and firearms.
Police say drugs, cash, ammunition and a stolen, loaded handgun were seized during Mr. Okeymow’s arrest.
Staff Sgt. Stewart said the gun used in the shootings was initially purchased legally in Edmonton by a lawful firearms owner who has no culpability in the investigation.
He said Mr. Okeymow isn’t known to have links to gangs or organized crime, and doesn’t appear to have a history of gun trafficking. Instead, Staff Sgt. Stewart said he is believed by police to have been selling drugs, which can escalate to the illegal firearm trade.
“This is one of those cases where – and we’ve seen it before – you start as a drug trafficker, and, you know, opportunity arises. It’s all about money.”
Constable Jordan was 35 years old, and Constable Ryan was 30.
Major Crimes Inspector Colin Derksen said the teen’s mother is mostly physically healed, but psychologically “she is in pain.” He said the restaurant employee is also dealing with significant effects of his shooting.
“There’s a lot of damage done, and I think some of that he’ll live with forever,” Insp. Derksen said Wednesday. “Psychologically, he’s still suffering. It’s taken quite a toll on him and that kind of damage manifests itself in a lot of different ways in his life.”
Police previously said officers had been called prior to March 16 to the teen’s apartment for a mental-health call, but that his earlier interactions with police had been “non-criminal in nature.”
Police have not released the identities of the teen, the mother or the restaurant employee.