Constable Michael McLellan says it was “an amazement to me”.
McLellan adds that he wondered “how is this guy not going down” after Steve Mesic stumbled about 20 feet to his death after being shot six times on June.7th of last year.
The officer has finished his testimony at a coroner’s inquest in Hamilton that is examining the circumstances of Mesic’s death, and will be asked to make recommendations to prevent similar tragedies from occuring in the future.
His conclusion after learning more about Mesic’s history of mental health issues, is that “without a doubt, he was trying to get us to kill him”.
Asked for any personal recommendations at the end of his testimony, McLellan suggested that officers accept counselling after traumatic incidents and have to requalify for force training, in part to maintain public confidence.
The lawyer representing Sharon Dorr, who was Mesic’s fiancee, spent much of the day focused on the 41 seconds that elapsed between the call to police dispatch advising “gunpoint arrest”, until McLellan radioed back to say “shots fired”.
The suggestion is that in the time it took Mesic to get under an unanchored fence panel with a garden spade, the officers involved had time to choose a less lethal, “use of force” option. Asked specifically about pepper spray when Mesic was at the fence, McLellan suggests the distance was too far and the outcome too uncertain.
The inquest has also heard from Ryan Moser, a city park’s employee at nearby McQuesten Park, who was on break when he heard “what sounded like firecrackers” over a period of about five seconds. He was going to tell whoever was doing it to stop, when he saw the police cruisers.