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Maple Ridge woman paralyzed in shoot-out sues gangsters
A Maple Ridge woman who was injured in a shoot-out that killed a notorious B.C. gang leader is suing the men charged with his murder.
Leah Hadden-Watts filed a civil suit against Jujhar Singh Khun-Khun, Michael Kerry Jones and Jason Thomas McBride in Kelowna Supreme Court last week, two years after Red Scorpion kingpin Johnathan Bacon was gunned down outside the Delta Grand Okanagan Hotel, Aug. 14, 2011.
According to the lawsuit, Hadden-Watts was staying at the hotel with friend Lyndsey Black, and three “acquaintances” including Bacon, Hells Angel Larry Amero, and Independent Soldier James Riach.
Police allege Bacon, Amero and Riach were in Kelowna that weekend as members of a recently formed criminal alliance known as the Wolf Pack.
Hadden-Watts says she did not know the men were involved in gang-related activities. Hadden-Watts is the niece of Mike “Spike” Hadden, who runs Haney Hawgs, a motorcycle shop in Hammond. Hadden is a full-patch member of the Hells Angels Haney chapter.
The lawsuit alleges Khun Khun, Jones and McBride found out that their rivals were staying at the hotel and travelled there with “one or more loaded firearms and a murderous intent.”
Hadden-Watts and her friends were getting ready to leave the hotel when they were ambushed in their white SUV.
The 22-year-old was sitting in the middle of the rear seat when a second SUV pulled up next to them and its occupants began to spray their car with bullets.
A bullet hit Hadden-Watts in the neck, severing her spinal column leaving her a paraplegic.
The nerve damage caused paralysis in her legs, most of upper torso and partial paralysis in both of her arms and hands.
“As a result of the injuries caused by the bullet, [she] is unable to maintain gainful employment and will require special medical care for the remainder of her life,” notes the lawsuit.
Before she was shot, Hadden-Watts had completed a course in insurance brokering and was set to begin a yoga instructor course at Langara College.
Khun-Khun, 25, Jones, 25 and McBride, 37, have been charged with Bacon’s murder and the attempted murder of Hadden-Watts, Black, Amero and Riach. All three remain in custody awaiting trial.
The lawsuit also names British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, the owner of the hotel and Gateway Casinos as defendants.
It claims the hotel is liable for failing to install closed circuit cameras to protect guests and employ additional security guards.
“The hotel knew or and ought to have known that the operation of a casino brings an increased risk caused by the predictable presence of criminality and gang members who frequent casinos,” the lawsuit claims.
Hadden-Watts alleges the casino owed a duty of care to warn others of the risk and failed to warn her about the potential for gang violence.
The defendants have yet to respond to the civil suit.
In the meantime, Hadden-Watts is raising funds to get stem-cell treatment in India for her spinal chord injury.