A Langford man has been acquitted of shooting his roommate through the shoulder two years ago.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Karen Horsman said there was insufficient evidence to find Devan Lambert shot and injured his roommate in their Jacklin Road suite in the early morning of April 5, 2019.
However, Horsman convicted Lambert of a number of firearms offences after he admitted he was present at the shooting and drove off with the gun used in the shooting. The firearm — a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver — was in his possession when he was arrested by Sooke RCMP two hours later.
The 27-year-old, who had police believing for days that he was his cousin, has also been convicted of lying about his identity to avoid arrest.
Lambert was charged with 13 criminal offences — seven relating to the shooting, six related to events after the shooting.
The Crown tried to prove that Lambert shot Colton Everatt-Barnes in the shoulder in his bedroom between midnight and 12:30 a.m. The bullet entered the front of Everatt-Barnes’ shoulder and exited through the back. The bullet was later found in the rear wall of his bedroom by police.
Two Crown witnesses were in the suite at the time of the shooting.
“Both testified under subpoena. It is fair to say they present as reluctant witnesses,” Horsman said.
Everatt-Barnes was one of those witnesses. He testified that he has no memory of how he got shot and does not know who shot him. Everatt-Barnes testified that he did not believe Lambert shot him because they are friends and Lambert had no reason to shoot him.
Crown witness Adriana Davie was also in the suite that night. She testified that things were getting heated, maybe in a dispute about rent. Davie said she saw a gun come slightly through the window but she could not identify the shooter. Davie testified that she may have left the bedroom to get cereal when Everatt-Barnes was shot.
At 12:50 a.m., Sooke RCMP Const. Jason From heard on his police radio that there had been a shooting and a man had fled the scene in a silver Subaru with a roof rack.
At 2:10 a.m., From and another officer saw a Ford Explorer heading west with a broken taillight. They stopped the vehicle and noticed someone breathing under a black puffy jacket on the back seat. From told the person, now known to be Lambert, to sit up. From asked for identification and Lambert gave the officer his cousin’s name and date of birth.
The woman driver was arrested for driving while prohibited, so From offered Lambert a ride. But as Lambert got out of the back seat, a 12-gauge shotgun shell fell out of his front pocket.
From told Lambert he was under arrest and reached for his arm, but Lambert took off, court heard. From yelled at him to come back because a police dog was on its way. Lambert came out of the bushes with his fist raised. He was Tasered and fell to the ground.
Sooke RCMP let West Shore officers know they had a suspicious man in custody. At this point, they still believed the man was Lambert’s cousin, court heard.
The Ford Explorer was towed to the Sooke detachment. On April 9, police found a revolver with ammunition under the seat. There were three live rounds and one spent round in the chamber.
By this time, the silver Subaru with a roof rack had been found with Lambert’s fingerprints. That prompted West Shore RCMP to question the identity of the man arrested in Sooke. Using mugshots and a DNA sample, they confirmed the man was Lambert.
Lambert testified that he heard Everatt-Barnes arguing that night with Ron James, an older man who has since died. Lambert said he saw Everatt-Barnes punch James, then saw James pull a firearm out of his pocket. James shot Everatt-Barnes, then told Lambert to take the gun and leave the house, he testified.
Horsman said she was concerned with Lambert’s credibility but found the Crown’s case to be circumstantial and lacking in evidence.
“I find there may have been other individuals who may have shot Everatt-Barnes. No one has identified Lambert as the shooter,” she said. “Based on the evidence, I’m not convinced he shot Everatt-Barnes on April 5, 2019.”
A date for Lambert’s sentencing will be set on Wednesday.