Mountie tells inquest he shot Brydon Whitstone because he thought he had a gun

BATTLEFORD, Sask. — A police officer says an Indigenous man who died in 2017 after being shot by Saskatchewan RCMP was hit with pepper spray first.

An inquest into the death Brydon Whitstone heard that officers in North Battleford, Sask., had boxed in a vehicle carrying Whitstone and a passenger after a police chase.

RCMP Sgt. Pernell St. Pierre told the inquest he broke the car’s passenger side window to get a better look inside.

He said he released pepper spray inside the car but Whitstone did not react to it.

St. Pierre said Whitstone, who was 22, also didn’t respond to calls from officers to show his hands.

The inquest had already heard that Whitstone put his right hand into his pants after he was told to get out of the car, even though he didn’t have a weapon.

RCMP officers testified they followed the sedan Whitstone was in because it matched the description of one involved in a possible drive-by shooting, but the car failed to stop.

The inquest heard the car Whitstone was driving crashed into two police vehicles and was badly damaged before it finally came to rest.

Brydon Bryce Whitstone, 22, died on Oct. 21, 2017 after being fatally shot by Battlefords RCMP in North Battleford after a suspect vehicle rammed a police cruiser.

Brydon Bryce Whitstone, 22, died on Oct. 21, 2017 after being fatally shot by Battlefords RCMP in North Battleford after a suspect vehicle rammed a police cruiser.

Const. Jerry Abbott, told the 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.

Abbott said Whitstone appeared to reach for something in his pocket which Abbott thought was a gun, so he shot the man from Onion Lake, Sask., twice in the chest.

An investigation by Regina police determined no criminal charges should be filed against police.

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.

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