Men killed in Winnipeg restaurant shot each other at the same time, police say

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Victims of a double homicide in downtown Winnipeg earlier this week were members of the same street gang, and shot and killed each other, police say.

Anthony Brian Cromastey, 30, and Rodney Albert Kirton, 25, died after opening fire on each other inside Johnny G’s, a popular late-night restaurant and pub on Main Street, around 1:30 a.m. CT Wednesday.

« The investigation has determined the deceased males died as a result of simultaneous gunshots to each other, » said a Winnipeg police spokesperson, Const. Rob Carver, on Friday.

Carver said both handguns have been recovered.

Investigators used surveillance video and witness accounts to conclude guns were fired at the same time, said Carver. 

« So the two individuals were basically in a gunfight in a public restaurant and shot each other fatally on the spot, » he said.

A simultaneous double homicide is « incredibly rare, » Carver said. The police spokesperson said he was unaware of one ever happening in Canada before. 

« We did a bit of research and it looks like it’s happened in the [United] States once or twice,  » he said. 

About a dozen people were in the restaurant at the time, with many running out and flagging down a police cruiser that happened to be passing nearby. 

A female server was hurt by a ricochet bullet and sent to hospital where she was treated for a non-life-threatening injury and released.

Carver said he’s surprised there weren’t more casualties because there were a lot of bullets flying.

Both men known to justice system: police

Cromastey and Kirton were members of the same street gang, but Carver wouldn’t say its name.

« I never announce the gang. I’m not going to give any gang the publicity. »

Criminal records show both men were familiar with the justice system.

Cromastey breached a bail order in 2013. At the time, he was not allowed to possess a cellphone. Kirton served time in jail twice for possessing drugs and was banned from possessing firearms. 

Immediately after the shooting Wednesday, another man at the scene assaulted Kirton, police said. An 18-year-old was charged with assault for that attack.

« Kirton was still alive when the assault took place, » Carver said, noting he and Cromastey were rushed to hospital in serious condition where they died shortly afterward.

Their deaths are the city’s fourth and fifth homicides of the year.

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Manhunt in Surrey, B.C., after transit officer shot at SkyTrain station

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Police in Surrey, B.C., are asking the public to avoid an area around a SkyTrain station as they search for a suspect who may be armed and is wanted in connection with the shooting of a transit police officer.

RCMP say the injured officer, identified as Josh Harms, 27, was on regular patrol duty Wednesday when a suspect shot him on the platform of the Scott Road SkyTrain station around 4:20 p.m. PT.

Harms was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Suspect large, possibly armed

Police are using dogs to search for the suspect, who is still at large and may be armed. At least 80 officers are involved in the search.

They have zeroed in on two areas in Surrey, which they have cordoned off; one from from King George Boulevard to 114th Avenue, and another from 125a Street to 124 Street. 

Police are asking people to avoid these areas, stay indoors and leave on a light on their front porch.

« We are asking you to stay inside and to lock your doors, » said Surrey RCMP assistant commissioner Dwayne McDonald.

The suspect is described as a male in his 20s, with dark skin, a dark stubble goatee and a mustache. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt jacket and white Nike running shoes with a black swoosh. 

A picture of the suspect was released by Surrey RCMP. (RCMP)

Police say they are canvassing video taken at the scene of the shooting, and interviewing multiple witnesses. They’re also warning the public that if they spot the suspect, call 911 and don’t approach him.

Schools, residences on lockdown

Because of the search, police took measures to secure nearby residences and a school where 25 people, including 15 students, 10 teachers and parents, were attending an after-school program when the shooting occurred, said Doug Strachan with the Surrey School District.

The protocol put into place at Bridgeview Elementary School meant everyone was required to stay inside the school and lock the doors, but activities carried on.

Police gave the all-clear at 8:30 p.m. PT and people were permitted to leave.

TransLink says the station has been closed and a bus bridge put in place. 

Sgt. Clint Hampton, a spokesperson for Transit Police, said Harms is expected to recover.

Hampton says he knows Harms well and described the event as « shocking. » 

McDonald said he checked in with Harms earlier Wednesday evening. 

« He was in good spirits, » McDonald said. Harms has been with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police force for three years.

Meanwhile. police detachments across the country expressed their support for the officer on Twitter.

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Bystander shot during attempted robbery of Kingsway holistic store – BC

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Vancouver Police are looking for two suspects after a shop customer suffered a bullet wound during an attempted armed robbery of a Kingsway holistic store late Sunday afternoon.

Just after 5 pm Sunday, two suspects disguised with masks entered the Stepping Stone Holistic Living Store on Kingsway near Clarendon Street and began making demands.

One suspect produced a gun and opened fire, striking a customer in the leg.

The suspects fled the store. It’s not known if they made good their escape with any store goods.

The injured bystander, a 32-year-old Vancouver man, was taken to hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Vancouver Police Major Crime Unit at (604)-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Vigil held for 26-year-old shot by Winnipeg Police last Friday – Winnipeg

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Friends and family of Chad Williams are calling for justice as they continue to mourn his death.

The 26-year-old was shot, after allegedly pulling out a weapon while being pursued by officers on Friday, Jan. 11.

“The police murdered my grandson.

“I never thought that would happen to my Chad. Now I’ll never be able to see him again,” said Rose Levasseur, the grandmother of Williams.


READ MORE:
Officer-involved shootings not a cause for panic, says Winnipeg criminologist

Dozens of people braved the cold while singing and offering traditional blessings as his family looked on.

The drummers at the vigil for Chad Williams on Thursday evening.

Their grief was pouring out in a call for action and justice.

“There’s a lot of communities in and outside of Winnipeg that are frustrated with police using excessive force and a lack of cultural awareness. We’re saying enough is enough,” says Tara Campbell, the organizer of the vigil.


READ MORE:
Man dead after Winnipeg police shoot guns on Sherbrook Street

Approximately 50 people attended the vigil which began at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

WATCH: Man dead after Winnipeg police shooting on Sherbrook Street






© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Man shot in the back gets disturbing Christmas card from imprisoned shooter

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Not a day goes by that Wayne Belleville doesn’t think about when he was shot in the back and left for dead on a rural Okanagan road, so when he received a Christmas card from the imprisoned shooter, it left him rattled and questioning how the card made it out of prison.

The Oliver, B.C., resident was shot in July 2015 after he gave Ronald Teneycke — a violent rapist with a long rap sheet — a ride. After Teneycke introduced himself, Belleville recognized the name of the dangerous criminal and told him to get out of his truck.

That’s when Teneycke pulled out a gun and shot Belleville, who had slammed on the brakes and tried to run.

‘Where did I get ya? » Teneycke allegedly asked the collapsed Belleville before stealing his vehicle.

Teneycke pleaded guilty in a Pentiction courtroom in 2018 to discharging a firearm with intent to wound or disfigure and robbery using a firearm.

Incarcerated indefinitely

Teneycke is incarcerated indefinitely at Kent Institution, a maximum security federal facility in Agassiz, B.C. 

« After sentencing in March 2018, I was really looking forward to never hearing his name again, » Belleville told CBC Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

But Belleville was not so lucky.

Teneycke sent him a Christmas card that included a two-page handwritten letter, despite a no-contact order from a B.C. Supreme Court judge. 

Belleville agonized over whether or not to read it after his stepdaughter did and warned him not to. He let it sit for awhile but finally read it in the parking lot at the Oliver RCMP station before turning it over to police.

Ronald Teneycke managed to mail a Christmas card from inside a maximum security facility to his shooting victim, despite a no-contact order. (RCMP)

Belleville said the content was disturbing and that Teneycke actually blamed Belleville in the letter for getting himself shot.

« His world view of himself is that he is the victim and that hasn’t changed, » said Belleville.

Gross incompetence

The letter left him disturbed and angry — both with Teneycke and Correctional Service Canada for not catching the card before it was mailed.

‘I can only describe their actions as gross incompetence … someone is asleep at the switch, » he told Walker.

Correctional Service Canada said in a statement it cannot comment on the specific case. 

Teneycke has been charged with one count of failing to comply with a communication order and will appear in court Friday in Penticton.


With files from Daybreak South

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Girlfriend of man shot to death by Edmonton police claims officers used excessive force

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The girlfriend of a wanted man killed by police on Boxing Day in an Edmonton parking lot believes police used excessive force.

Buck Evans, 34, was shot by multiple officers around 2 p.m. last Wednesday after the truck he was riding in was stopped by police in the parking lot of the Urban Village condo complex.

‘We all bleed the same’

« I had to watch someone I love gunned down, when literally there could’ve been different ways of going about it, » ​ Melissa Dumais said in an interview with CBC News. « I just don’t see how it’s fair. We all bleed the same. We all feel the same. » 

Dumais said she has been consulting with a lawyer and plans to pursue litigation against the officers involved. 

« I hope that I can get the cops that did this to him, because I am going to be taking it to court, » Dumais said. « I have enough evidence that this was excessive force.

« It may make my life a living hell, in the end. So be it. » 

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), an independent provincial agency, is investigating the shooting. The organization investigates actions involving Alberta police that result in serious injury or death.

Edmonton police say Buck Evans had several outstanding warrants and was considered armed and dangerous. (Facebook)

In a statement released last week, ASIRT said Evans refused to get out of the truck when ordered to by police. ASIRT said Evans fired a gun before he was shot by the officers.

At the time, Evans was wanted in connection with an ongoing investigation and had outstanding warrants against him. Police believed he was armed and dangerous, and a tactical unit had been following the truck.

« Independent evidence gathered to date would suggest that the man was in possession of a firearm and that the firearm was, in fact, discharged by the man, » the ASIRT release said.

Dumais said she was in the truck with Evans and a friend on the day of the shooting. She said police stopped them and ordered her and their friend to get out of the truck.

After speaking to Evans, she got out and was arrested. Dumais said Evans had tears in his eyes when he spoke to her.

Edmonton police shot and killed a 34-year-old man Wednesday. ASIRT is still investigating. 1:03

She said when she got out of the truck, Evans was sitting in the backseat with his hands up.

« The gun was nowhere near his hands, » she said. « The driver had his hands up, I had my hands up. And Buck had his hands up. »

Dumais said she knew Evans had a gun when she got into the truck earlier that day.

« He knew what was coming, » said Dumais, who had been dating Evans for about two months. « He knew he was going to die that day. »

She said the gun was on the floor when she got out of the truck.

Video of the incident shows police vehicles surrounding a truck near the Urban Village condo complex in southeast Edmonton. A barrage of gunfire can be heard on the video.

« The amount of gunshots that I heard go off, it just goes to show that either way he was going to die that day, » Dumais said. « Whether he complied or he didn’t. »

Dumais was in handcuffs across the parking lot when the police began firing. The last time she saw Evans, he was being loaded into a stretcher. 

She said she knew he was dead. 

« Being handcuffed, there was nothing I could do, » she said. « You want to be there for the person you love. You want to be beside them when they take their last breath. »

Change in behaviour

Dumais said Evan’s demeanour had changed in the days leading up to his death. He seemed frantic and was constantly looking over his shoulder.

« He told me that he felt like something bad was going to happen, » she said. 

When she saw the gun in the truck, Dumais said, she questioned Evans about it. She described it as an SKS, a type of semi-automatic rifle.

« I seen that, and I instantly knew something was wrong. »

Dumais, who shared an apartment with Evans in the west end, said she did not know that he was wanted on outstanding warrants.

« I just want people to know that Buck wasn’t a monster that they portrayed him out to be. He had a good heart. He’s gone through a lot, but he’s still a good person at the end of it all. »

ASIRT did not respond to an inquiry from CBC News. It is not known when their final report on the shooting will be released.

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Mother sensed ‘something wasn’t right’ in hours before TSN staffer was found shot dead

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Grace Gayle was starting dinner in anticipation of her son’s arrival home on Dec. 12, but he never made it.

“I wanted to make him something special that he likes because I knew he was coming home,” she said.

The meal of barbecue chicken wings and homemade potato wedges was left incomplete. So too was Jonathan Gayle-West’s routine drive home — cut short by bullets.

It was customary for the mother, who raised both her sons — Jonathan and his older brother Justin — in Richmond Hill before relocating to Oshawa a few years ago, to make everything from scratch, peeling the potatoes before briefly boiling and then frying them.

What was unusual this time around was that she waited for hours without even hearing word from her son about his whereabouts.

As relatives of the deceased TSN staffer prepare for his funeral Saturday, his mother and brother lament that they had no inkling anything had gone awry leading up to him being shot and killed behind the wheel of his Honda Civic while driving along Islington Ave.

By all accounts, Gayle-West was having a routine day before he became Toronto’s 93rd homicide victim in a brazen shooting along the busy city street.

Amplifying his relatives’ bewilderment is the revelation that he was returning from a private prayer session when he was killed.

His mother expected him to be home before 8 p.m.

“When he finished the session of prayer, the minister text me to say that your handsome son just left,” she said. That was shortly before 6 p.m., she estimates.

“He was a man of faith,” she said. “The Sunday before his death he went to church.”

Grace Gayle found it strange he didn’t respond when she inquired about his whereabouts, shortly after 7 p.m.

She proceeded on to bed and awoke from her sleep at 1 a.m., to find police at her doorstep.

“They said they had reason to believe he was shot,” she said. “I started screaming and hollering. I was shattered.”

The surreal experience has left a gaping hole filled with unanswered questions.

She had no suspicion of anything amiss that would have triggered the egregious act.

“Nothing that would have made someone take his life,” she said.

Gayle-West, of Oshawa, was pronounced dead at the scene, near Islington Ave. and St. Andrews Blvd. Police rushed to the scene at around 6 p.m., when gunshots rang out. He was found in the driver’s seat of his car, which had struck a tree.

Gayle-West was remembered by his former colleagues at Rogers Sportsnet and TSN, many of whom expressed their grief via social media, while others took time during regular broadcast of their shows to memorialize the endearing and beloved 29-year-old.

Gayle-West was a member of the production team at TSN where he worked with Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, BarDown, TSN 1050 and in the newsroom.

His older brother, Justin Gayle, 34, remains puzzled about what triggered the callous act of violence that snuffed out his brother’s life and his promising prospects along with it.

Justin doesn’t want to speculate as to what might have transpired.

“We know it’s going to come to the forefront soon,” Justin said.

“Nothing happened that made me feel his life was at risk,” he said. “We’re perplexed. He was literally coming from a Bible study.”

Gayle had moved into his mother’s home in the summer after splitting with his girlfriend.

In an attempt to “pickup the pieces” from the breakup, Gayle-West started scribbling in a journal, where he wrote Bible verses, later found by his brother, Justin said.

“I found all this stuff of a man picking himself back up,” he said. “He had a vision board looking towards the future.”

“With the kind of person he was and how he affected people, it’s just an unanswerable question right now,” he said.

Justin recalls his brother being enthralled by all things professional wrestling.

“He was big into that scene,” Justin said.

Above all, Gayle-West’s ambition was to be a sports journalist.

While completing a degree in communications at York University, he honed his skills volunteering at the local Rogers TV station.

“He started as an assistant setting up the mobile television production for Rogers TV and then he eventually appeared as a reporter for a magazine show,” Justin said.

It wasn’t long before sports network television came calling.

“He spent at few years at Rogers Sportsnet before making the move to TSN,” Justin noted.

Gayle-West was gearing up to take another shot at making the big jump from behind the scenes to being a sports anchor.

“He had tried a few years ago,” Justin said. “He was being groomed on how to be an on-air personality. It was his next step.”

A celebration of life service is slated for Calvary Baptist Church, 300 Rossland Rd. E., Oshawa on Saturday. Visitation will go from 10 a.m. until the funeral service at 11 a.m., with interment to follow at Mount Lawn Cemetery.

Jason Miller is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Reach him on email: jasonmiller@thestar.ca

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Man shot dead in downtown core in second fatal shooting in 24 hours

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A man in his 20s is dead and a woman is injured after a double shooting in the downtown core Wednesday morning that capped off a violent 24 hours in the city.

It was only about 15 minutes past midnight when police received numerous reports of gunshots heard on King St. W., near Spadina Ave.

In the sixth Toronto shooting within 24 hours, a woman was shot in the leg, and a man was killed, police say.
In the sixth Toronto shooting within 24 hours, a woman was shot in the leg, and a man was killed, police say.  (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

It was a busy night in the downtown core. Many people were still in the area when the shooting occured. Thirty-six-year-old Mike Dickson, who works for theScore sports app on the top floor of 500 King St. W., was one of them.

“Just after midnight, those of us that were left in the newsroom heard 8 or 9 gunshots ring out very loudly,” he told the Star. “The sound was unmistakable, and we all glanced at each other, frozen for a moment, before running to the window.”

They saw a man lying unmoving on the ground in front of Firkin Freehouse, a pub directly across the road from them, Dickson said.

“I immediately grabbed my phone and called 911.”

Coincidentally, there were already officers in the area, according to Insp. Darren Alldrit.

“We had officers who were conducting a RIDE spot check on Spadina just south of King at the same time,” said Alldrit. “They also heard numerous gunshots. They immediately ran to the scene, where they located a male and a female who had suffered gunshot wounds.”

Police said the woman had been shot in the leg, sustaining serious, but non life-threatening injuries. The man, however, was without vital signs.

From his vantage point above, Dickson, still on the phone with the police, said he saw two officers on foot approach the male victim and begin to attempt medical assistance, one officer launching into CPR.

He said two police cruisers pulled up not long after, and other officers were directed into a nearby alleyway, emerging around 15 minutes later with what seemed to be the female victim on a stretcher. The male victim had already been taken away by ambulance at that point, Dickson said.

“His face was ghostly white, as pale as I’ve ever seen,” Dickson said.

Police confirmed that both the man and woman were rushed to hospital, where the man later died. Paramedics said the two victims were in their 20s.

It was the sixth shooting incident in the city in a 24-hour period, and the second one to prove fatal. Earlier Tuesday morning, a man was shot dead while he was sitting with a woman in a vehicle parked outside of a North York apartment building. He has been identified by police as 28-year-old Lawrence Errol Joel John, of Toronto.

Dickson, who has worked in the King St. area for about 10 years, said he’s heard distant gunshots before, but has never “seen anything this close before.” Nothing, he said, has had “the same impact as tonight.”

King St. W. was closed both ways between Spadina Ave. and Portland St. for the investigation.

Police are asking anyone with information on the King St. W. shooting to come forward and speak to them.

With files from Ilya Bañares.

Alexandra Jones is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandraMaeJ

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Man shot dead outside Jane and Finch apartment building, police say

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A man was shot dead outside an North York apartment building Tuesday morning, Toronto police said.

Police responded to reports of multiple gun shots fired outside of an apartment building on San Romanoway near Jane St. and Finch Ave. W. shortly before 6:30 a.m.

The victim was shot inside a car, Toronto police Const. David Hopkinson said.

Paramedics rushed to the scene, but the man died from his injuries.

Multiple people were seen running from the area, Hopkinson said.

Investigators have not released any information about the victim, the car or any suspects.

The homicide unit is investigating, Hopkinson said.

The shooting is Toronto’s 94th homicide of 2018, a record for killings in a single year. The previous record, 89, was set in 1991.

That year also saw highest per capita rate of killings — 3.8 per 100,000 — of any in the Star’s records.

In 2018, a year that included two notable incidents of mass violence in the Yonge St. van attack and the shooting on the Danforth, the city has so far maintained a homicide rate of about 3.3 per 100,000, the second highest in the Star’s records.

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Inquest jury can’t decide how Brydon Whitstone came to be fatally shot by RCMP officer

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A coroner’s inquest jury that heard details all week about the death of Brydon Whitstone couldn’t decide how the 22-year-old came to be fatally shot by a Saskatchewan RCMP officer.

The six-person jury announced its finding Friday after spending the week in a courtroom at Battlefords Court of Queen’s Bench hearing testimony about Whitstone’s death. Jurors could have found Whitstone’s death was a homicide or a suicide, among other options. They chose neither.

Whitstone, a 22-year-old man from Onion Lake Cree Nation, was shot by an RCMP officer in North Battleford, Sask., on Oct. 21, 2017. Whitstone had led officers on a high-speed chase, during which he collided with two RCMP vehicles. He then refused to exit his car even as officers surrounded him and shouted orders to surrender. 

One of those officers shot Whitstone. That officer, Const. Jerry Abbott, testified this week that he had thought Whitstone was reaching for a gun.  

The coroner’s inquest into Whitstone’s death began Monday. 

The jury made one recommendation along with its finding:

« Use of Taser gun or other intervention to immobilize or stun the suspect first prior to the use of a gun. »

Saskatchewan RCMP offered condolences to Whitstone’s family in a news release Friday afternoon.

« The Saskatchewan RCMP is grateful to the jury members for their work this week and extends a sincere thank you for their efforts, » RCMP said.

The release said RCMP would review the jury’s recommendation and provide a written response, which would then be published on the Saskatchewan Coroners Service website.

Family wants case reopened

Abbott’s shooting of Whitstone was investigated by Regina Police Service.

Lawyer Stephanie Lavallee said Whitstone’s family wants the case reopened by an « independent » investigative body, perhaps even one with Indigenous participation, her co-worker Mark Ebert said. Saskatchewan has no such body. 

« What we’ve seen over this past week gives us pause, » said Lavallee. « We note that several officers who testified at the inquest provided corrections to the evidence they originally gave to Regina police investigators.

« At least in one incident, such a correction was due to speaking to another officer involved in this incident but who did not appear in this inquest as a witness. »    

The jury

The jury was made up of six people: four women, two men. Three of the jurors came from a pool of self-identifying First Nations people. The rest were drawn from the general public. 

The group knew fairly early that Whitstone died from two gunshot wounds fired near his heart by Const. Abbott. 

The key question the jurors were asked Friday was how they thought Whitstone came to be shot. They had five choices: suicide, homicide, accidental, natural and « undetermined. »

The jurors heard mixed evidence about Whitstone voicing suicidal thoughts before his altercation with RCMP. 

1 question from jurors during proceedings

The jury had only one question during four days of testimony from 16 witnesses.

Late in the proceedings, a male juror asked about a move made by Const. Marco Johnson, a large man, during the frantic two minutes leading to the shooting.

Johnson had testified he grabbed an uncooperative Whitstone by the left arm and bent the arm along the side of the vehicle, in an attempt to pry Whitstone out of the vehicle.

« Do you think, given the facts, [that move] was appropriate if nobody was seeing a gun? » the juror asked.

« I would assume so, yes, » said Sgt. Pernell St. Pierre, the most senior officer on the scene that night. 

Abbott testified that he yelled out that Whitstone was reaching for a gun, but never actually saw a gun. 

RCMP camera not filming

Jurors also heard that one of two in-car RCMP cameras in the area that night did not record either the pursuit or the shooting.

The officer in that car, Garrett Dove, said he had not been trained in how to clear his camera’s hard drive, which was full at the time, so that it could record the night’s events. He and other officers who now have the WatchGuard cameras in their vehicles testified they are now trained to clear the hard drive.

The officer who initially pursued Whitstone did have a camera recording. It captured part of the altercation at the intersection, but from a distance. It appeared to show one person standing on each side of Whitstone’s car.

Saskatchewan’s « F » Division is the only division to have the cameras, the RCMP said earlier this week. 

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