KELOWNA – The encounter lasted only a few minutes but left a strong impression on Mark Langmead and his 11-year-old son.
“It was very disturbing,” he told Justic Ian Josephson in the B.C. Supreme Court trial of accused Westside shooter Michael Ellis Tuesday. “(My son) was very upset. He was extremely quiet and refused to come out of the car for quite a while.”
Langmead was stopped on Westside Road to look at some mountain goats with his son July 31, 2012 when a grey van with tinted windows pulled up alongside him.
The driver and the passenger got out of their vehicle and Langmead was about to point out the animals on the road when he noticed the gun.
“They were yelling ‘get him,'” Langmead testified. “They were extremely angry.”
Langmead rolled up the windows and had his car in reverse when the passenger of the van began striking the window repeatedly with the weapon. He described the gun as a polished, snub-nosed revolver.
“I could see the gun clearly,” he says. “He hit the window with such force I was surprised it did not break immediately.”
Langmead says it was around this time he also noticed a female standing at the front of his vehicle approximately 15-feet away.
“She was yelling something,” he says.
A few minutes later all three got back into their van and drove off northbound, leaving Langmead and his son shaken, but unhurt.
Langmead was unable to get a photo of the licence plate but he says he did notice a football-sized hole in the back window.
He described the driver as caucasion, wearing a tank top and a tattoo on his right shoulder. He also said a gun brought out by Crown lawyer Murray Kaay looked similar to the one he saw that day at around 1:30 p.m.
The trial continued Tuesday afternoon with testimony from Ashley Craig, a young woman who was forced from her car at gunpoint shortly after the encounter with Langmead.
Craig was stopped 10 km south of Fintry for the Wilson Creek wildfire when she too was approached by a grey van. The driver, a white male she estimates to be in his late 30’s approached and asked her for a ride. She describes the three people, two men and woman, to be acting “cracked out” on drugs.
“He demanded I get out of the car and I said no, I’m not getting out.”
The driver pulled out a gun and pointed it at her shoulder.
Craig broke down in tears several times as she described how the woman then got in the back seat and one of the men got in her passenger seat. The other male, described as being “husky” and “overweight” with short cropped hair ordered her out of the car again and this time she complied.
She mouthed the words “he’s got a gun” to another person waiting at the stop and she started running.
When she finally turned around she saw all three getting back into their van and driving away at a high rate of speed.
Craig identified the accused, Michael Ellis, 41, as the man who pointed the rifle at her.
“It scared me,” she said in court as she wiped tears from her eyes. “It scared me.”
Ellis showed little emotion as he sat in court, resting his chin on his hand. He faces over a dozen charges including attempted murder and several gun-related charges.
Shawn Wysynski, 34, and Ashley Collins, 21, both admitted to being in the van that day and have pleaded guilty to armed robbery and being in a vehicle with a restricted weapon.
The trial of Michael Ellis is scheduled to continue over the next couple weeks.
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