Man who fired rifle into ceiling to stifle voices in his head, nearly hitting neighbour, sentenced to time served

January 07, 2020

A South Okanagan man who fired shots into the ceiling of his basement suite in response to voices inside his head, nearly hitting his upstairs neighbour in the process, will be released today on time already served.

Daniel Khafizov, 31, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday — exactly how much pre-sentence credit (worth 1.5 times a regular day in prison) he has accumulated since being arrested on January 7, 2019.

Court heard police were called that day to a home on Road 11 in Oliver by a man who was sitting on his couch when he heard loud banging from the suite below. A couch cushion moved, feathers shot into the air and a bullet punched a small hole in the ceiling.

The man on the couch occupied the second floor of a three-story home. Another renter was on the top floor while Khafizov lived in the basement.

Heavily-armed RCMP surrounded the home and used a bullhorn to order Khafizov out of the basement, where police found 45 spent .22 calibre casings, a box of ammunition and a .22 rifle.

The basement suite’s walls and ceiling had “numerous” bullet holes in them. A search of the third-floor unit located a chunk of lead officers believed to be a .22 bullet.

Crown prosecutor John Swanson said Khafizov was suffering from “auditory hallucinations” at the time of the incident, but a psychiatrist determined he could be held criminally responsible as he was “aware of what he was doing” at the time of the shooting.

“I rarely hear the voices anymore,” Khafizov said when asked by Justice Gary Weatherill to explain to persistence of the “auditory hallucinations” while in custody.

Khafizov said the frequency of the voices are now just one per cent of what they were at their worst, when they were “attacking” and “bugging” him, “now I might hear a voice or two a day and that’s it.”

“Obviously the court and the public are concerned about people shooting guns inside a house,” Justice Weatherill said. “I mean that is —”

“It’s horrible,” Khafizov interjected.

“It is, you could have killed someone,” the Judge replied.

“I know, I regret it every day,” said Khafizov.

Court heard Khafizov came from a supportive home and nearly achieved his Certified Professional Accountant designation. He worked as an accountant at a large firm for years, but in 2015 was involved in a serious rollover on the Coquihalla that resulted in injuries and a concussion.

He developed an addiction to fentanyl-based painkillers prescribed to him after the crash that led to him losing his job in 2016. He would later move to the South Okanagan and offer accounting services out of the basement he was arrested in. In late 2017, he started snorting meth, which resulted in paranoia and auditory hallucinations by May 2018, spiralling until he was arrested in January 2019.

Crown and defence lawyer Michael Patterson presented Justice Weatherill with a joint submission of 18 months of time already served and two years of probation for guilty pleas to counts of careless use of a firearm and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Accepting the proposal, Weatherill handed Khafizov a lengthy list of probation conditions, including attending treatment and counselling, a weapons ban, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, taking all medications and forcing his doctors to report any parole violations. A lifetime firearms ban was also included.

Khafizov had no prior criminal record.