BATTLEFORD, Sask. — The Mountie who fatally shot Brydon Whitstone says he pulled the trigger because he believed the Indigenous man had a gun.
Whitstone, who was 22, died on Oct. 21, 2017, following a police pursuit.
Const. Jerry Abbott told an inquest that when he arrived on scene the car that Whitstone was driving was already boxed in by police vehicles at a North Battleford intersection, but Whitstone was still trying to get away.
He says Whitstone appeared to reach for something in his pocket which he thought was a gun, so he shot the Onion Lake man twice in the chest.
Earlier this week, jurors heard that Whitstone did not have a gun, though he did have ammunition in his pocket.
Several other RCMP on duty the night of the shooting had similar recollections, many referring to the pursuit as a "high-risk" situation.
Whitstone's parents spoke outside the courthouse following Abbott's testimony.
His mother, Dorothy Laboucane, said Whitstone was a loving father, brother and son. She said she will never forgive Abbott.
“Const. Abbott took my son," she said Wednesday. "The pain I carry every day. And I will forever, physically, every day as I struggle."
Laboucane said she believes her son fled from police because he was on probation and had already breached his curfew.
In earlier testimony, RCMP Const. Matthew McKay told the inquest that the car Whitsone was driving had crashed into two police vehicles and was badly damaged before it finally came to rest.
An investigation by Regina police determined no criminal charges should be filed against police in the shooting.
The inquest is expected to conclude Friday. (CTV Saskatoon, CJNB)
The Canadian Press