Man charged with attempted murder after shots fired in Tobermory

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Tobermory resident Corey Oliver said someone shot at his house, then fired a shotgun at a vehicle he and another man were in when they gave chase on March 31.

Grey Bruce OPP announced Tuesday a man was in custody, charged with two counts of attempted murder using a firearm, recklessly discharging a firearm, uttering threats and possession of cocaine and meth.

None of the charges, or Oliver’s account of events that evening, have been tested in court.

Oliver, a 33-year-old father of two small boys, said he started receiving text messages March 30 about 11:40 p.m. Someone said he was coming to shoot up Oliver’s house.

“I’m ex-army, I grew up in a rough neighbourhood. I’ve been in a fight or two before,” he said in an interview. “But at some point after the text messages were coming in I really started to be fearful.”

“He said he knew I had kids — I have all the text messages, the police have all the text messages — He told me he was driving up to Tobermory to shoot my house up and put a shotgun shell through my front door.”

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Oliver says one of the texts accused him of breaking a window and cutting tires.

“He thought I did him wrong,” he said. “I said I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Oliver says he also received a text from the same person saying he’d entered Tobermory. Oliver says he shut off all the lights, wrapped his boys in a Kevlar vest and a blanket and hid them in the house with his fiancée.

Oliver says he and his cousin, who is staying with them and works with him, went outside and saw unfamiliar vehicles, a black Trailblazer SUV and a white van, circling the neighbourhood.

Oliver, a carpenter, said he and his cousin left to quickly check on his nearby job site, where Oliver keeps lots of expensive lumber. They returned home and were just getting out of their car when Oliver says the Trailblazer approached the house about 1:30 a.m.

“We heard a car coming around the bend and he opens fire with a .22. It was a couple shots, like pop-pop-pop, an automatic” or something like it, Oliver said. He thinks it may have been a .22-cal. handgun or rifle.

He says he remembers about 10 shots. When it was over, police later canvassed the neighbours and found no one was hit. They never found any bullets in his house or in the house next door, Oliver said.

But Oliver says the ordeal wasn’t over yet.

“So I jumped in my vehicle and chased after him to get the licence plate information,” Oliver said. He and his cousin found the Trailblazer they were chasing, which came to a stop on Head Street, about 60 metres east of Highway 6.

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“As we were approaching up on the vehicle, we saw a shotgun pointed backwards. So we instantly dodged his vehicle, stepped on it, floored it past him. And as we drove past, we looked up at him, he looked at us.

“And my cousin’s leaning forward, I’m leaning forward. I’m looking out the window, I see a shotgun come out. Muzzle flash and, well, you see the aftermath,” he said.

A video shot by Oliver shows damage to the passenger-side A-pillar, impact damage to the windshield in front of the driver and shattered glass by the A-pillar, which was also damaged.

They were a metre from the other vehicle, Oliver said. He and his cousin felt the concussion of the blast and the spray of glass and shrapnel, but somehow they remained uninjured, he said.

At first they called 911 for an ambulance and reported they’d been shot. But upon arriving home and checking each other they found neither was hurt. They called off the ambulance. Police arrived more than an hour later.

Before police arrived, Oliver says there was one more scare.

One of the two vehicles that had driven past his house earlier that night, the white van, was seen coming back around the bend as they were moving their kids over to a neighbour’s house, Oliver said.

He says his fiancée and cousin dove behind a pickup truck with Oliver’s five-year-old son. Oliver says he dove behind rocks and used his body to cover his two-year-old son.

“I really prayed. I asked, I begged him not to take my kids today,” Oliver said, his voice choking with emotion. “He drove by and he didn’t do anything.”

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Oliver said he agreed to tell his story to be up front with his neighbours, friends and the rest of the community.

“I’m not a gangster and I’m not involved with drugs,” he said.

“I do want to make it very clear to my community that I am very sorry that this happened. I do not believe that I conducted myself in any way to warrant children and innocent neighbours to be shot at.”

David Hillyer, 39, of Northern Bruce Peninsula, is charged with two counts of attempt to commit murder using a firearm, discharge a firearm into a place in a reckless manner, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, possession of cocaine and possession of methamphetamine, according to a news release issued by the Grey Bruce OPP Tuesday.

The release says that at 1:28 a.m. March 31, Grey Bruce OPP responded to a firearm incident on Head Street in Tobermory. Police were told a vehicle drove past a residence and the driver fired several bullets at the home.

When a witness followed the vehicle and approached it, “the accused fired several shotgun rounds at the victim’s vehicle, narrowly missing the occupants, before fleeing the area.”

Police said there were no injuries. They located the accused in a vehicle the same day and took him into custody without further incident, the release said.

Hillyer remains in custody and has a bail hearing scheduled Wednesday morning in Owen Sound.

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