Mountie says he relied on reaction of colleagues before he shot at a man four times
December 8, 2022 By Brittani Schroeder
Dec. 8, 2022, Edmonton, Alta. – The defence lawyer for an Alberta Mountie charged with manslaughter says her client was relying on the reactions of his colleagues before he fired four shots at a man that he thought was the suspect in a shooting the day before.
Cpl. Randy Stenger and Const. Jessica Brown are accused in the fatal shooting of Clayton Crawford on July 3, 2018, near Whitecourt, Alta., northwest of Edmonton.
Stenger’s lawyer, Mona Duckett, told the jury that his position is that of reasonable and necessary self-defence.
Last week, the jury heard Crawford suffered from 10 gunshot wounds and that Brown fired her carbine rifle eight times, while Stenger shot his pistol four times.
Whitecourt RCMP were notified about the sighting of a purple pickup truck at a rest stop that was seen fleeing the area of a shooting, but there was confusion about whether the driver was considered a target or suspect.
Duckett says that officers were not jumping to conclusions and that they were making inferences with the information that they were given.
Stenger conceded in his testimony last week that he fired shots at Crawford when he tried to flee the rest stop after he was approached by armed officers wearing hard body armour.
“He did as he was trained,” Duckett told the jury. “That is not criminal conduct.”
She said her client’s response “was his only option to preserve the lives that he believed were at risk.”
The jury was also told that when Brown and Stenger approached the truck, it appeared as though the man in the driver’s seat was sleeping.
Brown testified she saw Crawford reach between his legs. A third officer broke the driver’s window with a baton and there was a struggle.
Brown has said Crawford started the truck and began driving backward. She said she thought he was using the truck as a weapon and she feared for her life and the lives of her colleagues.
“This incident spun out of control because of the actions of the driver,” Duckett said.
Stenger testified Crawford was trying to run them over, and it was an automatic reaction for him to fire his gun.
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