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Testifying in his own defence, the man in the middle of a daytime police shooting through downtown Saskatoon told the court he hadn’t slept in a couple of days and ingested an unknown amount of crystal meth moments before police arrived.
Mike Arcand faces the charge of attempted murder and other gun-related offences following a shootout with police on Fourth Avenue South on Sept. 27, 2017.
Arcand testified Friday he manufactured his improvised shotgun with parts he salvaged from his home. The reason he pieced together the “slam gun” was in light of threats he received from a gang in Onion Lake. He testified he wanted to protect his girlfriend and his two daughters from any potential dangers.
Arcand walked the court through the moments leading up to the time when police met him in a downtown parking lot after someone reported a vehicle break-in.
Arcand testified to leaving Onion Lake First Nation and heading to North Battleford with his girlfriend, her mother and her two kids. Arcand testified he was using cocaine and crystal meth, knowing he had a long night of driving ahead of him.
He testified he arrived in North Battleford around 2 a.m. and quickly took some more crystal meth. Arcand said he arrived with his girlfriend in Saskatoon the morning of Sept. 27. Arcand said he dropped his girlfriend off at school at the Saskatchewan Indigenous Institute of Technologies.
He told the court he then parked his vehicle in the lot next to the school hoping to fix the brakes. In the midst of gathering his things, he testified he accidentally locked himself out of the vehicle. In an attempt to get back in, he was met by a security officer from the SIIT building who advised him police were on the way.
Arcand testified he panicked when he was told this and he smashed the driver’s side window and tried to hide all his drug paraphernalia, consumed all the crystal meth he had left and tried to ditch his homemade gun.
The court heard how in the midst of hiding all his incriminating items, a police cruiser rolled up with a police dog.
Arcand told the court he had a history of dog bites and the only thing on his mind was how to distance himself from the police dog. A civilian video presented as evidence at trial shows Arcand holding his gun at his waist and slowly walking away from an officer while he ordered Arcand to drop his pipe and stand down.
Arcand testified he was making his way to the SIIT building to find his girlfriend so she could explain what’s going on. Arcand told the court SIIT security wouldn’t let him in and suddenly he was met by more police officers on Fourth Avenue.
A police dash cam video at the centre of the trial shows Arcand pacing back and forth as police plead with him to drop his weapon. Arcand testified he was paranoid and panicking because he couldn’t understand how quickly this all escalated.
“I wanted to get away from the situation and that’s when police fired,” Arcand said.
The Crown challenged Arcand, asking why he didn’t just listen to police’s orders and drop his weapon. Arcand responded he was high on drugs, sleep deprived and wasn’t thinking straight. He told the court in hindsight he should have just dropped his weapon and listened to police.
Tasers and bean bag rounds caused Arcand to flinch, jerk
Arcand testified the barrage of Taser shots and bean bag rounds he absorbed caused him to flinch, closing his eyes and causing a chaotic scene. Arcand testified he never intentionally pointed his gun at police and it went off by accident when he was hit with a second Taser shot.
He told the court he took off after he felt his gun go off because he was scared for his life.
“After the gun goes off I was surprised and I thought I was going to die,” Arcand testified. “I then ran as I figured I would get shot.”
He testified the only time he intentionally pointed his gun was when a police dog was running towards him.
“It’s life or death at that moment,” Arcand testified. He told the court he tried to fire the gun at the police dog approached, but it didn’t fire. Arcand testified he suffered dog bite wounds to the back of his leg and his hands.
Reviewing the dash cam video the Crown pointed out that Arcand appears to be thrusting his weapon as he approached police. Arcand testified his motions were just him reacting to being hit with a Taser.
Arcand wrapped up his testimony telling the court that this event was an extremely traumatic moment in his life and since the shootout he’s had nightmares.
“I know I should have got rid of the gun,” he said.
Closing arguments are set for Tuesday.
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