Officer says he was afraid for his life when he shot suspect during police pursuit
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2020 7:37PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:50AM EST
KITCHENER -- Details about a police call that ended with a suspect shot are being revealed in a Kitchener courtroom.
Sergeant Richard Dorling testified Tuesday at the trial of Joshua Hannaford.
He told the court about the events leading up to the shooting on March 31, 2018.
Dorling was then working as a patrol supervisor for Waterloo Regional Police at their Central Division in Kitchener.
Just before 4 p.m. the Cambridge detachment requested assistance at Highway 401 and Homer Watson Boulevard.
From the start the call was flagged as potentially dangerous situation.
Audio recordings of police radio communications from that day were played in court Tuesday.
“Making you aware again,” said the dispatcher. “Officer safety. There is two rifles and one crossbow, firearms are not trigger locked.”
The initial call was for a stolen vehicle from the Hamilton area where rifles and ammunition were also taken during a break-in.
Dorling sent some of his units to the 401 and Homer Watson Boulevard before heading to the scene himself.
“Vehicle, getting out of the car, running with a bag in his hand, into the bush where the car is,” someone can be heard saying in the audio recording. “Just one person so far.”
Officers found the vehicle with two rifles inside and a couple of open boxes of ammunition with rounds missing.
Dorling went to cover an area along the 401, near Princess Auto, when he saw a man matching the suspect’s description coming out of the bush.
Dorling says he got out of his car, unholstered his gun and yelled.
“Show me your hands,” he can be heard yelling on the audio recording. “Don’t move. Put your hands in the air now.”
Dorling told the court that the man ignored his repeated demands.
“It was like he wasn’t even listening to me.”
He says the man, later identified as 31-year-old Hannaford, kept moving towards him. He had a black-handled object in his right hand, which Dorling says he was hiding in the front of his pants.
He testified that he thought it was a firearm.
That’s when he claims the man turned to him and said: “want to die.”
Dorling said those words made him fear for his life.
Believing he was in danger, Dorling pulled the trigger, telling the court that “I had to stop the threat that was before me.”
“Shots fired, male down, get me an ambulance please, he’s been shot in the leg,” he can be heard saying in the audio recording. “Gunshot wound to the upper right thigh, I think I just shot him once.”
Dorling added that he never wanted to shoot Hannaford.
He placed Hannaford in police custody and two more officers arrived on scene and began giving the man first aid.
Dorling claims Hannaford told him: “I wish you shot me in the head.”
He says he later found a black-handled knife nearby on the ground.
Court previously heard that Hannaford was taken to Hamilton General Hospital by an air ambulance.
Hannaford is facing a total of six charges including possession of a stolen car, possession of firearms while prohibited, and driving from officers during a police pursuit.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Dorling has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting. However because he is a witness, court was reminded that his testimony can’t be used against him when Dorling eventually has his own trial.
A preliminary hearing in that case is set to start in July.