Court heard from the sergeant on duty the night Brydon Whitstone was fatally wounded when the coroner’s inquest into Whitstone’s death continued at Queen’s Bench Court in Battleford Thursday.
Whitstone was fatally wounded in an altercation with the RCMP in North Battleford on Oct. 21, 2017.
RCMP Sgt. Pernell St. Pierre said he authorized the pursuit of the white Buick, which Whitstone was driving that evening, after it failed to stop for police.
He said there are guidelines in determining if a pursuit is in order - speed, location, traffic and road conditions at the time. St. Pierre said based on the nature of the 911 call prior, it was warranted due to the nature of the alleged offence.
He said because the suspect vehicle hit the RCMP escape vehicle near the alley at a high speed that was also a concern.
St. Pierre said he broke the passenger side windows with his batton when he approached the vehicle after it came to rest off 15th Avenue, to allow him get a better sight inside.
St. Pierre had the other RCMP officers box the vehicle in.
St. Pierre saw the driver with his hands on the wheel, while the passenger was cowering.
Then St. Pierre used pepper spray in the vehicle but he said the driver (Whitstone) had no reaction to it. He said he used the spray because other officers had their guns drawn.
Then St. Pierre said he heard “bang and another bang.”
He also saw the driver’s right hand go down to the groin area but didn’t indicate the time.
St. Pierre said the bang surprised him. Then, he heard from another officer that Const. Abbott discharged the shot.
There were two members on the driver’s side of the vehicle at the time, he said.
St. Pierre said when he was discharging the pepper spray before the shots were fired he heard officers yelling: “hands, hands, hands.”
He said he hadn’t been giving any commands to the other officers at this time.
St. Pierre said to be compliant, a person needs to put their hands up, not leave them on the steering wheel.
When asked about the suspect vehicle from the 911 call earlier, in which a shot was allegedly fired, St. Pierre confirmed it was later reported to have four occupants in it. The suspect’s name was identified as someone else, not Whitstone.
Tomorrow is expected to be the final day of inquest proceedings.
On Twitter: @OCoureurDesBois
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