Suspect in police chase linked to South Okanagan crimes

Man charged in last week's police shootout in Kelowna has prior convictions in the South Okanagan

A man involved in the dramatic police chase last week in Kelowna was well known to South Okanagan RCMP.

Michael Edward Ellis, 39, was charged last week with three counts of attempted murder with a firearm, robbery using a firearm, dangerous driving and failing to stop a vehicle when being pursed by a police officer.

Ellis had netted a slew of charges back in June of 2007 after a routine check stop by South Okanagan RCMP who found drugs and guns in the truck he was in with an American man.

The truck, which had Washington licence plates, was stopped to check the ownership of a motorcycle in the cargo area. After noticing the occupants were acting nervous and one of the men was attempting to hide a large can of bear spray, RCMP placed both of the men under arrest.

Inside the vehicle, RCMP found a loaded Luger semi-automatic pistol with a 15-round capacity, a loaded .38-calibre revolver, a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun wrapped in newspaper and numerous ammunition rounds. RCMP also found 180 grams of cocaine, 21 grams of crystal meth, 42 tablets of ecstasy and drug trade paraphernalia. Ellis was sentenced to 12 months for possession of a controlled substance

In August of 2007, Ellis was accused stealing a truck that took him and another man on a high-speed chase from Midway to Osoyoos. The pair avoided a spike belt on Mt. Baldy Road, hopped out of the vehicle and began running. They were caught by RCMP with the help of the Penticton RCMP dog unit and RCMP air service. Ellis was sentenced to nine months for this incident.

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said that during the 45-minute police chase last Tuesday, shots were fired at police officers. The incident started in West Kelowna on Boucherie Road and carried along on Westside Road, ending near Swan Lake in Vernon around 2:30 pm..

“While following the vehicle in an attempt to pull it over, the officer notified dispatch that he was shot at and requested back up,” said McKinnon.

McKinnon said it appears the suspects changed vehicles a couple of different times, but could not be specific on how they did this. During the chase police officers fired shots back at the suspects. Because of this, standard procedure calls for a internal investigation, which is being handled by New Westminster police.

Shawn Adam Wysynski, 32, was also charged with the same counts as Ellis. The third accused, 19-year-old Ashley Collins, was charged with  three counts of attempted murder and one count of robbery using a firearm. A woman in the vehicle suffered a gunshot wound during the incident.

The three men have been remanded into custody until Aug. 9.




-With files from Kathy Michaels, Kelowna  Capital News