A man well known to South Okanagan RCMP who is accused of being involved in a police chase and shootout in Kelowna is now facing more charges.
Michael Edward Ellis, 39, was charged with three counts of attempted murder with a firearm, robbery using a firearm, dangerous driving and failing to stop a vehicle while being pursued by a police officer in July. Two others that were with him, Ashley Collins and Shawn Wysynski, also face a slew of similar charges.
The trio allegedly took RCMP on a 45-minute chase from West Kelowna to Swan Lake near Vernon. It is also alleged they returned fire at the pursuing police officers. Collins was injured during the exchange and lost a kidney.
On Monday, the three accused made their first appearances on new charges, including some that allege they were part of a criminal organization. Under the law, a criminal organization is a group of three or more people whose main purpose is to commit serious offences which would likely result in a material benefit to one or more people in the group.
Collins is now charged with two counts of attempted murder for the benefit of a criminal organization, while Ellis and Wysynski face four counts. Ellis also faces a fifth charge of attempted murder. As well, the trio face a charge of reckless discharge of a restricted/prohibited firearm to benefit a criminal organization, five counts of robbery using a restricted or prohibited firearm and five other weapons-related charges.
In 2007, Ellis was at a routine check stop when South Okanagan RCMP found drugs and guns in the truck he was riding in with an American man. Ellis was sentenced to a year behind bars for possession of a controlled substance. Also in 2007, Ellis was found guilty of stealing a truck with another man and taking RCMP on a high-speed chase through Midway to Osoyoos. They were eventually caught with the help of the Penticton RCMP dog services and RCMP air service. Ellis was sentenced to nine months for this incident.
Ellis, Wysynski and Collins are scheduled to return to Kelowna court on Jan. 3.