'I was so concerned': Officer who fatally shot Beau Baker testifies at inquest
The second day of the inquest into a fatal police shooting saw a number of people who knew 20-year-old Beau Baker leading up to his death testify, including with the police officer who shot him.
Baker was shot and killed by a Waterloo regional police officer outside his Brybeck Crescent apartment on April 2, 2015.
The officer who shot Baker was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in 2015.
WRPS OFFICER TESTIFIES
Staff Sgt. Eric Boynton was a patrol constable at the time.
Boynton said he received the call about what was going on, and was told that a male had a knife, was not easy to take down and was threatening to stab emergency responders if they came.
“I was so concerned for the safety of the caller and the public possibly, depending on if he did the things he said he was going to do, that I had had an ambulance put on standby for the benefit of anyone who may need one,” said Boynton.
When he arrived, the officer said he asked about something he saw shimmering in Baker’s hand.
Adding: “He held it up in a stabbing motion and said literally and I quote, ‘a really sharp knife’.”
Boynton said the only options available to him were a rifle, pepper spray, a baton and a pistol.
“I did not have a Taser,” he said. “No constables on patrol at that time had Taser.”
Boynton said there were some other police that carried Tasers at the time, but patrol officers did not.
The hearing wrapped up on Tuesday before Boynton finished his testimony.
He will continue his testimony on Wednesday.
This inquest could lead to recommendations to prevent future deaths under similar circumstances, but there is no charge or allegation to be proven or disproven, and no one is on trial.
CHILDREN'S AID WORKER TESTIFIES
On Tuesday morning, the jury also heard from a Children’s Aid Society (CAS) worker who worked with Baker from the time he was around 14-year-old.
She explained Baker was a very kind and social person but struggled with mental health and addiction issues.
"I know he was loved by many,” she told the court.
When he turned 18, the worker continued providing support, but had less access to what was going on with his mental health.
The worker said Baker was often in crisis and reached out for help.
He made 12 visits to the emergency room in seven months for suicidal behaviour and crisis issues leading up to the shooting.
The worker said she visited Baker a couple of weeks before his death and was worried because he needed to apply for Ontario Disability Support Program Funding, but didn’t seem to be taking it seriously.
The worker described Baker's death as "the saddest event in [her] CAS career of 23 years.”
MOTHER’S EX-BOYFRIEND TESTIFIES
Martin Symonds, the ex-boyfriend of Baker’s mother, told the jury the two had recently reconnected.
Symonds knew Baker when he was very young, but they lost contact when Baker was still a kid.
Symonds said Baker called him completely out of the blue two hours before the shooting and wanted to get together and catch up.
“We had it all set up that I was going to hook up with him the next day and come over and have a few drinks,” Symonds said.
“Something had to have happened between that time I talked to him last that made him very depressed,” Symonds added.
During cross examination, Symonds said had he known about Baker’s mental health issues he would have handled the phone call different or tried to visit him that night.
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