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article imageMan who shot RCMP officer convicted killer, long history of crime

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 5, 2014 in Crime
The 36-year-old man who shot and critically injured a Mountie Wednesday morning, and who is now in custody in Kamloops and charged with attempted murder, is a convicted killer. Kenneth Michael Knutson was also banned from possessing a firearm.
It is alleged that on Wednesday early morning at 2:45 a.m. he shot Corporal Jean-René Michaud, 40, during a traffic stop in Kamloops. The wounded officer, a husband and father of two young children, remains in hospital in critical but stable condition.
The Criminal Justice Branch said Knutson faces four charges: aggravated assault of a peace officer, possession of a firearm while prohibited and discharging a firearm with intent to wound, maim, disfigure or endanger life. These are not his first charges for firing a gun at someone.
In March of 2002, Knutson, then 24, shot and killed Christopher Lesniak in Coquitlam. Knutson admits to doing so but said his gun went off accidentally and hit Lesniak in the chest. An ambulance was called but Mr. Lesniak was pronounced dead when he arrived at the Royal Columbian Hospital.
The charge against Knutson at the time was second-degree murder but the Crown was not confident they could make that charge stick as there were no witnesses to say Knutson had intentionally shot the 21-year-old man. They accepted a plea bargain and Knutson pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death.
He was sentenced to one year in jail, three years probation and was banned from possessing firearms for 10 years. In 2009 he was charged and was convicted on three weapons offences relating to an incident in 2008.
Going back to 1999 he has a long list of other offences such as pointing a gun at another person, causing bodily harm, break and enter and being in possession of stolen property worth over $5,000. He also has many drug convictions such as possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Knutson was shot in the arm when the other officer with Cpl. Michaud returned fire after gunfire erupted from the vehicle Cpl. Michaud was approaching. It's not yet known when his first court appearance will be but it is known that a courtroom is a familiar locale for Knutson.
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