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Officer tells inquest he feared for his life during stand off
Published Tuesday, June 25, 2019 11:58AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, June 25, 2019 6:32PM CST
Cst. Jesse Jackson says he feared for his life.
The Saskatoon police officer told a coroner’s inquest on Tuesday he fired a shot at 28-year-old Joshua Megeney because he believed Megeny was going to shoot the rifle he was holding.
Megeney was found dead behind a locked and barricaded door at a house on Avenue Q North on Oct. 6. 2016.
Jackson served as part of the tactical support unit at the time of the shooting, while also serving as a patrol officer.
Officers had been called for what was reported as a break and enter in progress.
Megeney had trapped himself in the master bedroom of a house.
Jackson said communication with Megeney was muffled, prompting police to strike in the door, cracking it open to help with communication.
Jackson said Megeney grabbed a rifle while in the room and pointed it down the stairs at him.
“I believed he was going to pull the trigger,” Jackson told the courtroom.
He said he remembers seeing the silhouette of a man holding a rifle and the last words he heard Megeney speak were, "I want to make one last call to my mother."
Court also heard from Cst. Blake Atkinson, an officer on duty at the time, who corroborated much of Jackson's testimony.
Atkinson’s role was to give verbal commands with the suspect, such as a “city police are here.”
The Megeney’s family lawyer, Scott Spencer, asked both constables why neither gave Megeney a cell phone, didn’t use a loudhailer to amplify their voices or a throw phone.
Atkinson said he couldn’t speak to negotiation tactics, as it’s not his area of expertise.
Both constables said negotiating is the responsibility of the crisis negotiator team.
Prior to the 2016 incident, Jackson said he had been called out as a tactical support officer roughly 60 to 70 times.
Atkinson said he fired two rounds once he saw a man pointing a rifle in his direction.
"There was a green ring on the optics of the riflescope,” he said. "That is every indication to me telling me I'm about to die.
A jury of six is expected to hear from 10 witnesses throughout the week.
The purpose of an inquest is to establish the cause of unexpected deaths, and come up with recommendations that may help prevent similar deaths in the future.