A 29-year-old man driving drunk through Burnaby while wearing body armour and packing a loaded semiautomatic pistol equipped with a silencer has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.
Kurtis Dieter Sandy Schmidt told police he did not know and could not explain why he had the loaded handgun and extra ammunition in his truck or why he was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was arrested in the early morning hours of June 28, 2017, according court documents.
He said he had been drinking non-stop for several days.
Schmidt was arrested at his parents' house after someone reported a possible drunk driver in a red pickup tailgating another vehicle on a Burnaby highway at about midnight, according to court documents.
Police went straight to the home of the truck’s registered owner, and officers were still there when Schmidt drove up in it.
He jumped out and ran into the woods, but officers chased him down.
When asked why he had the weapons and the body armour, Schmidt said he didn’t know, that he’d been drinking for days and maybe he’d bought them somewhere that day.
Schmidt told a similar story as a witness at the 2009 trial of Mark Anthony Arrieta, a teen with links to the Red Scorpions gang who was convicted of killing University of Victoria student Philbert Truong.
Schmidt told the court in that case that he had been passed out drunk at home with his iPhone the night Truong was fatally shot outside a Victoria night club, even though records reportedly showed Schmidt’s phone had been used 95 times – including for calls to Victoria Taxi that reportedly brought the shooter to the scene – during the time Schmidt said he’d been passed out.
His inability to answer questions about that night reportedly prompted the judge in that case to ask Schmidt if he was “on medication” or “brain injured,” to which Schmidt said “no.”
B.C. Provincial Court Judge Paul Meyers was equally unimpressed by Schmidt’s explanation for the June 2017 incident.
“He was driving drunk in a busy city at midnight,” Meyers said in a sentencing decision last month. “The gun was openly resting on the seat. The gun was cocked, along with a loaded magazine in it and he had a silencer locked in place. The gun had never been registered in Canada. The gun had no serial number on it … He was under four separate orders prohibiting him from possessing firearms. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest at midnight. His ‘explanations’ – or at least his expressed bewilderment as to how, when, or why he had possession of the gun, the magazines, the silencer and the bullet-proof vest – are, in my mind, not satisfactory explanations at all.”
Meyers noted Schmidt had numerous prior drug-trafficking and fraud convictions between 2009 and 2012 but that there had been nothing new until the June 2017 incident.
Meyers also noted Schmidt had had no problems while on bail, that he had stopped drinking, was in a positive long-term relationship and had set up an overseas chili/pepper spice-grow operation in Uganda, growing crops there to sell all over the world.
But Meyers wasn’t convinced by defence lawyer Colleen Elden’s submission that Schmidt was remorseful.
“I have a big question mark there because he does not seem to acknowledge, in my view, in a forthright way what in the world he was doing that night with all of those dangerous things,” Meyers said.
Besides the prison sentence, Schmidt was also handed a lifetime firearms ban.
He had pleaded guilty to possessing a loaded prohibited firearm, occupying a vehicle knowing there was a prohibited device (the silencer) inside and possessing ammunition while prohibited to do so.
With files from the Times Colonist.