Gang-member Teen Condemned to 10-year Sentence for Brutal Manslaughter of Expectant Father


One late October night in 2019, a chilling tale of mischief and malice unfolded amidst the quiet serenity of North Battleford, Canada. A young offender, barely seventeen, a member of the notorious “Terror Squad” street gang, sealed his fate by brutally manslaughter of Ryan Gatzke, a 27-year olds expectant father who, on that fateful day, emerged victorious from the Gold Eagle Casino, pocketing a modest but not insignificant plunder of $1,500.

In perfect accordance with the cold and harsh justice served by Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, the youthful assailant cannot be named. However, he now faces the hardened confines of a prison cell for the next nine and a half years, having been held as an adult responsible for a gruesome crime committed under the shroud of juvenile folly.

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The events that evening took an unanticipated turn, pressurized by the concoction of drifters and dreamers inhabiting the Gold Eagle Casino. Inflated with mirth and cheer, Gatzke with his wife had spent an intoxicating evening, savoring an intimate dinner after a stroke of good luck. Regrettably, a rogue influence, a former employee of the casino, discerned an opportunity to exploit. With the insidious intent, they tipped off the Terror Squad about the potential windfall, suggesting an added allure of some pot at the Gatzke residence.

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, to which the Gold Eagle Casino reports, was swift to disassociate the establishment from this ex-employee, citing no ongoing relationship at the time of the unsavory incident. However, alarming reports from Sask Today suggested a hushed rehiring post the incident, contradicting the official narrative without hinting at impending charges for the individual.

That night, the Gatzke household fell prey to the darkened terror, as three silhouettes emerged from the abyss. The formidable trio from the Terror Squad, Jacob Ballantyne, Isaac Melko, and the nameless juvenile, crept into the serenity of the Gatzke home, closely followed by their accomplice, Charles McLean, who maintained a vigilant watch outside, ready for a quick escape.

With their perceptions skewed under the heavy influence of drugs and alcohol, the juvenile raised a pernicious 12-gauge shotgun towards Gatzke, triggering a hostile confrontation that concluded with Gatzke bearing the brunt of two deadly shots in his mid-chest and abdomen, one of them fatally severing his right coronary artery. The young perpetrator displayed a chilling lack of mercy, indifferently trampling over Gatzke’s lifeless form, an image that court documents recounted in sublime horror.

Court psychiatrists classified the juvenile as an antisocial personality, entrenched in the gang culture, bereft of remorse, and resistant to change, a reflection of his tumultuous upbringing. His fellow gang members Ballantyne and Melko, reverberated similar disregard for life and humanity, receiving prison sentences of eight and twelve years, respectively, following guilty pleas for manslaughter. McLean, the frenzied chauffeur, was dealt a four-year sentence.

Beyond the cold courtroom walls, a mother’s lament echoed through the void left by the untimely demise of her son. Ryan Gatzke, described as a dutiful worker, a jovial spirit, and a caring father-to-be, left behind a gaping wound in June Gatzke’s heart, resonating her sorrow every day, “It rips my heart every time. It rips my heart every day,” she mournfully declared.