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Brad Evans had a decision to make as he lay face down on the floor with his hands tied up and a loaded shotgun held to his head.
“It felt like an execution, to be honest with you,” the Dartmouth man said this week as he recalled a violent home invasion at his friend’s place in Porters Lake on the night of July 11, 2017.
“So what are you supposed to do, just lay there and take it, or can you at least fight for your life?”
Evans chose to fight back. He eventually gained control of the shotgun and the masked intruders ran out of the house.
He used the shotgun to fire two slugs at the suspects’ truck. Birdshot hit one of the men in the upper leg area.
Homeowner Kyle Earl Munroe had been knocked unconscious after three culprits – two carrying shotguns - forced their way into the house on Old Fairbanks Road in search of money.
When he came to, Munroe grabbed a .22-calibre rifle he illegally had in the house and headed outside as well.
Munroe emptied two 10-round ammunition clips at the truck, which ended up stuck in the ditch. One of the bullets struck the same man in the back.
RCMP responded to a report of shots fired and found Munroe and Evans wandering around the property, still holding the guns.
Within days, both men went from being victims to facing charges themselves for firing the weapons.
Munroe, 33, was originally charged with nine offences, including attempted murder. He pleaded guilty to careless use and unauthorized possession of a firearm and received a one-year conditional sentence this October.
Evans, 36, was awaiting trial next year on counts of recklessly discharging a firearm, careless use and pointing a firearm, but the prosecutor withdrew the charges last week in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
“Evidentiary issues caused the Crown to conclude there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction,” Chris Hansen, spokeswoman for the Public Prosecution Service, said Thursday.
Evans said he found the justice system frustrating, slow and inefficient.
“I’m glad someone over there at the Crown finally had some common sense, but it should have happened way sooner,” he said.
“It took a year and a half to get them to realize something they should have realized in two weeks.”
Evans said his life was in limbo the whole time.
“If this had gone to trial, I believe we would have made them look silly,” he said.
“I’m fighting for my life and you have the audacity to charge me for pointing a weapon at these people – their own weapon? It’s not my weapon. I’m watching a baseball game, drinking a beer, and these guys burst in.”
He said the Crown offered him a similar deal as Munroe’s if he agreed to plead guilty to careless use of a firearm, but he turned it down.
“My lawyer said it was a pretty decent deal and my parents and everybody else said to take it,” Evans said.
“But if I took the deal, I would be admitting I did something wrong. With the conviction, I would probably never get into the States again. It would have been life-changing, basically.”
Matthew Bruce Simms, 27, of Dartmouth is the only person charged with committing the home invasion. He’s out on bail and has a trial set for Supreme Court next November on nine charges, including break and enter, armed robbery, forcible confinement and wearing a mask in the commission of an offence.