MARTIN: Lugela brothers saga reminder city not immune to gun violence

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If Calgary’s Lugela brothers were competing to see who could attract the highest parole ineligibility for murdering an innocent stranger, it appears Samuel is the winner.

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The elder Lugela, now 31, was handed an automatic life sentence Wednesday without a chance to file for full parole for a minimum of 19 years.

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That’s one more year of waiting than his younger brother Nelson must put in for a completely unrelated, but frighteningly similar murder nearly seven years ago.

On Sept. 25, 2016, Nelson Lugela, seemingly agitated over an earlier altercation at the then-Marquee Beer Market on Macleod Tr. S. pulled out a handgun and shot Calgary Stampeders defensive back Mylan Hicks twice, as the victim stood outside the bar as it was closing.

Although Nelson Lugela’s earlier dispute involved members of the football club, Hicks was not a participant.

Fast forward four years and this time it was Samuel Lugela’s turn to show off his criminal manhood by killing an innocent victim outside another Calgary nightclub, this time the Portico Hookah Lounge on 35 St. S.E.

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The elder Lugela twice shot Abdurahaman Indiris after the victim sprayed an aerosol can into a group of men standing outside the club at closing time in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2020, just days shy of the fourth anniversary of his younger brother’s heinous crime.

Most weren’t affected by the spray in any way but Samuel, who Court of King’s Bench Justice Paul Jeffrey suggested may have simply been itching to shoot someone, took such great offence that he pulled a handgun he had in his waistband and murdered Indiris.

In setting Samuel Lugela’s parole ineligibility at 19 years, 12 months more than Nelson’s, Jeffrey noted the stark similarities between the two brothers’ crimes.

“Both murders were committed by handgun, with two shots into an apparent total stranger, in the presence of a crowd and following some preparatory steps,” Jeffrey said.

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Both were also committed on the doorsteps of nightclubs at closing time as patrons streamed from both locations.

But perhaps most significant, both crimes were in retaliation to seemingly innocuous incidents, or at least actions which couldn’t justify a deadly response.

Fortunately, in Canada, handguns aren’t prevalent in members of the general population.

One need only look to our neighbours to the south to find out just how dangerous a well-armed public can be.

According to The Guardian, the Fourth of July long weekend in the U.S. involved 16 mass shootings (defined as an incident where four, or more people, not including the gunman, are shot) where 15 people died and nearly 100 were injured.

That same article quotes statistics from the U.S. Gun Violence Archive, a database which tracks mass shootings, saying there have been 350 such incidents in the States this year, or nearly two every day.

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But just because Americans seem to have gone completely mad when it comes to using firearms on their fellow citizens, Canadians should temper our smugness at how much safer it is to live north of the 49th parallel.

As the Lugela brothers have shown, Canada, and specifically Calgary, is not immune to the random gun violence that seems to have become epidemic in the U.S.

And neither Lugela just happened to find themselves with a deadly firearm on the days in question.

Evidence in Nelson’s trial showed a social media post of his of a handgun months before he murdered Hicks and the killer was subject to a two-year firearms prohibition at the time for past misdeeds.

Outdoing his brother, Samuel was not only subject to two lifetime bans, but was also on bail with a condition he not possess firearms.

Sadly, neither Lugela cared to comply with court orders and instead used handguns for their intended purpose — killing.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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