Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marijuana activists' son shot

Patriquen in serious condition in hospital; suspect in custody

By DAN ARSENAULT Crime Reporter

The son of two of Nova Scotia's best-known marijuana activists was in serious condition in a Halifax hospital Tuesday after an early morning shooting at a home in Upper Sackville.

Mike Patriquen, 25, is the son of Michael Patriquen, the founder of the provincial Marijuana party, which is no longer active, and Melanie Stephen. The couple are divorced.

The shooting occurred at 93 Orchard Dr. in Upper Sackville. Ms. Stephen is the listed owner of the house and two other properties on the street, but neighbours said she hasn't lived there recently.

Shortly after the shooting, Halifax RCMP arrested a 19-year-old man after a chase in which they temporarily lost sight of him. He was still in custody awaiting charges late Tuesday afternoon.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Taplin said police received a 911 call at 3:40 a.m. from Orchard Drive, off Sackville Drive.

"The RCMP arrived on scene early and they started gathering information right away," he said. "They determined who the suspect was."

Cpl. Taplin wouldn't say how many people were at the brown house, which is set back about 30 metres from the street among trees. He also wouldn't say where the bullet hit the victim.

Police had their lights flashing as they trailed the suspect to Candlewood Court in Lower Sackville, about five kilometres away. The suspect jumped from his still-moving vehicle and ran off as the vehicle went onto the lawn at 4 Candlewood Ct.

The RCMP called Halifax Regional Police to help them create a perimeter to block escape routes from the neighbourhood and eventually they stopped a car carrying the suspect and two females.

"He was arrested there without incident along with two other females that were in the vehicle as well," Cpl. Taplin said.

The females were questioned and released, he said.

In 2003, Mike Patriquen and his mother, who was then Melanie Patriquen, ran in theprovincial election for the Marijuana party but both finished a distant last in their respective ridings. He was a Saint Mary's University commerce student at the time and said he smoked "two or three" grams of marijuana every day.

His father, Michael Patriquen, was serving a six-year prison sentence at the time after pleading guilty to possessing and trafficking marijuana in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Ms. Stephen was convicted in February of money laundering and possessing proceeds of crime from the same growing operation. She was sentenced in April to one day behind bars and an 18-month conditional sentence in the community.

The former couple also have a teenage daughter.

A girl who looked to be a teenager arrived at the Orchard Drive house with a young woman late Tuesday afternoon and yelled at someone on the property for a few minutes. She then walked away and yelled and cried for several minutes before returning to the car she arrived in.

Police investigators went to the car and spoke with both females for a short time.

Neighbours said there appeared to be a late-night party at the Orchard Drive house Monday, which wasn't unusual. They said the house has frequent visitors but isn't that noisy. The residents are friendly and wave to neighbours, they said.

The Chronicle Herald reached Ms. Stephen by phone at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday but she was unaware of the shooting and was very upset by the news.

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