The officer responsible for giving orders during a fatal 2016 standoff told an inquest Thursday the incident has forever changed how his team approaches break-and-enters.
28-year-old Joshua Megeney was found dead behind a locked and barricaded door at a house on Avenue Q North on Oct. 6, 2016.
Officers had been called for what was reported as a break-and-enter in progress.
Sgt. Kenneth Kane, a police officer since 1997, told the inquest if he knew the person locked inside the room had a loaded firearm he would have never rammed in the door.
He said he has never been that close to a gun pointed at him and called it a “horrible feeling.”
After the door was struck, officers discovered Megeney inside with a loaded rifle.
That’s when the situation escalated, Kane said.
Megeney’s family lawyer and the jury asked Kane why officers rammed in the door, instead of remaining patient and waiting for a crisis negotiation team to arrive.
Kane said the door needed to be open in order for a crisis team to be able to throw a phone in.
He didn’t view striking the door as an act of aggression and said his experience has been “quite the opposite.”
Officers were expecting the person to comply, rather than appear with a firearm, he said.
Cst. Blake Atkinson said Tuesday he fired two rounds once he saw a man pointing a rifle in his direction.
“I couldn’t believe two rounds were fired and this person came back up,” Kane told the inquest.
Cst. Jesse Jackson fired a single round that is believed to have killed Megeney.
The jury asked Kane if it would be helpful creating a unit with both officers and crisis negotiators, rather than have two separate groups that can create delays in high-crisis situations.
He said there wouldn’t be enough work for crisis negotiators to work full-time, but cross-training officers would be a possibility.
The province’s chief forensic pathologist, who conducted the autopsy on Megeney’s body, also took the stand Thursday.
Dr. Shaun Ladham told the inquest he found a bullet lodged inside Megeney’s forehead and crystal meth in his blood.
The bullet went backwards and downwards as it travelled into Megeney’s head, which Ladham called a significant finding.
The bullet never exited Megeney’s head.
Ladham said he has conducted and supervised more than 4,000 autopsies, with fewer than 10 per cent being shooting-involved.
The inquest also heard the gun Megeney was holding was in an up-right forward position when he was shot.
Megeney’s father excused himself from the inquest. His lawyer said the process was emotionally too much for him to handle.
The jury of four women and two men have been vocal throughout the inquest, even receiving praise from Madame Coroner Alma Wiebe for being so involved.
The inquest will reconvene Friday where the jury is expected to determine the cause of death and provide recommendations to prevent similar deaths.
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