Man sentenced to almost 6 years for violent machete attack in Downtown Eastside hotel

A 29-year-old man has been sentenced to almost six years in jail after a violent machete attack on a couple in a single-room occupancy hotel in the Downtown Eastside.

Storm Shadow Peeace and two other men entered the couple’s room around 11 p.m. PT on June 9, 2019, according to Judge Reginald Harris’ reasons for sentencing.

One of the men pulled out a handgun, while Peeace pulled a machete from his right pant leg, leading to a struggle in which Peeace hit the man with the machete several times, cutting him on the torso and nearly severing his thumb, the document says.

When the female victim kicked Peeace, he cut her on the leg with the machete, according to the court documents.

The judge said the woman required 40 stitches to repair a four- to five-inch laceration to her left leg and the man’s left thumb was nearly severed, requiring surgery.

The intruders fled after the man pepper-sprayed his assailants, who ditched the machete in a nearby alley where it was discovered and linked to Peeace and one of the victims through DNA testing.

More than a year later, Peeace was found with a machete in a duffel bag, as well as a loaded sawed-off SKS semi-automatic rifle. He was under a court order at the time prohibiting him from possessing weapons, including guns.

Peeace pleaded guilty in court to both crimes.

‘Emotional upset and lingering trauma’

During sentencing, Harris noted the severity of the crime and its impact on a fragile community, noting single-room occupancy hotels (SROs) are home to some of the most vulnerable residents in the city and an attack like this would have sowed chaos and fear.

“The armed intrusion into one’s residence and a subsequent machete attack would cause even the most hardened individual emotional upset and lingering trauma, ” he wrote.

Vancouver police officers found the machete hidden in an alley near the crime. DNA on the machete was linked to the victims. (Maggie MacPherson)

Harris said he also considered Peeace’s upbringing and heritage.

Peeace’s parents separated while he was young. His mother committed suicide and his father was battling substance abuse. When he was 11, he moved in with an aunt who gave him crack cocaine and encouraged him to steal, the judge said.

By 16, Peeace was homeless, addicted to drugs, and a member of Calgary’s Fresh Off the Boat gang, where he would act as an enforcer.
 
“Mr. Peeace’s upbringing was chaotic, horrific and it saddens one to think about the circumstances of his early life,” Harris wrote.

Peeace is also Indigenous and Harris said he considered how “the historic mistreatment of Indigenous persons and how systemic and background factors have played a part in Mr. Peeace’s offending and his moral culpability.”

However, Harris said the court must also recognize the severity of the violent crime.

Peeace’s sentence of five years and 10 months is comprised of a 40-month custodial sentence for aggravated assault and another consecutive 30 months minus time served for the firearms offence.

“I am also of the view that the cumulative sentences will permit Mr. Peeace to engage in a meaningful way with the available Indigenous programs thereby supporting in his rehabilitation and reintegration,” wrote Harris.

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