Witness describes man in alleged getaway vehicle after gang leader murdered in Kelowna


KELOWNA - The driver of an SUV speeding from the scene of a gang murder tried to shield his face from witnesses but a woman who was leaving a coffee shop has described the man in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna.

Ingrid Merkus told a murder trial that the driver was "definitely muscular" and darker skinned.

She was testifying at the trial of three men charged in the death of Jonathan Bacon, a leader of the Red Scorpions, outside a hotel in Kelowna in August 2011.

The driver's window was down when the SUV sped past a shop where Merkus had just emerged onto a patio carrying two coffees, court heard.

"I witnessed a vehicle racing up the street and I just stayed put until the vehicle had passed," she said.

Merkus told court the driver was wearing a light-coloured shirt and described him as having short, closely cropped black hair and an olive complexion. She estimated he was between 20 and 27 years old.

"The driver tried to screen his face, momentarily, as he drove by," Merkus said, adding she could see someone in the front passenger seat, but couldn't make out any details.

"All I know is he was leaning out of the window."

Merkus gave a videotaped statement to police in October 2011.

She told court she couldn't remember telling an RCMP officer a few weeks after the shooting that she believed the driver of the speeding SUV was Caucasian but "really tanned."

"I don't think I said that, but it appears I may have said that," Merkus said after being shown the officer's notes about their conversation.

"I'm fairly clear that it was an ethnic driver," she told court.

Michael Jones, Jason McBride, and Jujhar Khun-Khun are charged with murdering Bacon, a Vancouver-area gang leader, and wounding several others during a brazen Sunday afternoon shooting outside the busy Delta Grand hotel.

Bacon and the others were leaving the hotel in a Porsche Cayenne when two men opened fire, court has heard.

Witnesses have said the attackers sped off in an SUV.

Merkus, who said she wasn't familiar with Kelowna, couldn't recall the name of the cafe where she and her sister bought their coffees but said she heard popping noises that sounded like fireworks.

She'd just walked onto the cafe's patio and motioned for her sister to stay inside.

"Step back, that's gunshots," Merkus said she told her sister.

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