November 28, 2012 - 5:44 PM
UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. Nov. 28
Cst. Kyle Boffy heard the dispatch and immediately feared the worst.
It was Jan. 7, 2011. Boffy had received the dispatch that a man with a brain injury had come to his former workplace, fired off shotgun rounds and left the scene.
"I thought it was going to take a gunfight to stop this," Boffy said.
Boffy was the sole witness Wednesday afternoon at the Geoff Mantler assault trial at Kelowna Law Courts. He recalled a post-incident interview he had with an RCMP detective about a week later. This is what he told the detective:
"I thought it was going to be one of those horror stories," he said, "where an ex-employee is coming in with a shotgun and starts going to town."
Asked by defence attorney Neville McDougall what he'd meant by that, Boffy answered, "I thought it was an active shooter, like when you hear about somebody inside a school actively shooting people."
The inference on the part of the defence was clear. Officers responded to a shooting with few details, only that it was a man who had challenges from a brain injury and was back at his former place of employment, Harvest Golf Club. The scenario was not lost on anyone who'd heard the police dispatch.
On the way to Harvest, Boffy heard that Mantler had the subject in custody at the corner of KLO Road and Pandosy Street. He knew that this had dangers of its own: a traditionally busy street, which boosted the danger potential for innocent bystanders. Plus, it appeared that Mantler had no backup, which left open the possibility of even more problems.
"I wouldn't be comfortable being in that spot," Boffy said.
Boffy testified that he arrived on the scene and saw the subject, Buddy Tavares, facedown on the ground. Boffy saw his wife, Cst. Robyn Boffy, handcuffing Tavares and attempting to help him off the pavement. He then searched Tavares' truck, found an unloaded shotgun and put it in the trunk of a police car.
Later in Boffy's testimony, he was led through a frame-by-frame display of the video a journalist shot at the scene, the one in which Mantler is depicted kicking Tavares in the face. As McDougall guided him through the frames, Boffy pointed out several examples before the kick of Tavares' body movements in which, he said, a reasonably well-trained RCMP officer could deduce that he might try to charge him.
Boffy testified that Tavares' slow movements coming out of the truck, his inconsistent manner of obeying Mantler's commands, his failure to lie spread-eagled on the ground in a timely manner and his failure to consistently display his hands all were what Boffy referred to as "threat cues."
Taken all together, Boffy said, he himself would have been worried that Tavares might try something.
Boffy first said he didn't know if he, in Mantler's position, would take the same action as Mantler did. Then, when McDougall asked him whether kicking Tavares would be an acceptable alternative to shooting him, Boffy said, "Yes, striking him would be preferable to using a firearm."
The trial resumes Thursday.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012