"I wanted to hit him before shots were fired": Officer at Magloire inquiry
Police were running out of options to subdue a homeless man when an officer mowed him over his cruiser, the coroner’s inquiry into the man’s death heard Tuesday.
Const. Denis Coté testified at the inquest into the death of Alain Magloire, a 41-year-old homeless man who was shot and killed by Montreal police on Feb. 3, 2014.
The coroner’s inquest is trying to determine why the father of two, who suffered from serious mental health issues, was shot four times by police. The officers were never charged.
Coté testified that he became aware of the standoff between his colleagues and Magloire over the police radio and felt that their lives were in danger when the man threatened them with a hammer.
Cote told coroner Luc Malouin that he sped to the scene as soon as he heard the distress call from colleague Jeanne Bruneau, adding that he sensed panic in her voice.
“She was not in control of the situation,” he said.
When he arrived at the intersection of Ontario and Berri Sts., where he spotted four officers with their guns drawn, who were backing into traffic, while Magloire walked in their direction.
Coté made the decision to run Magloire over with his patrol car, hoping to prevent the other officers from needing to shoot him.
"I had this flash, since I was immune to the attack, to hit (Magloire) with my car. I turned off the siren to surprise him. I wanted to hit him before shots were fired," Coté testified, admitting police aren’t trained to use their car to hit suspects.
Magloire instead jumped on the hood of the car, refusing to drop his hammer. He was shot four times in the chest by police.
Asked why he didn't wait for an officer to arrive with a Taser, Coté answered, “There wasn't any time for it.”
“The Taser wasn't an option,” he said. “You can't use an intermediary weapon in a crisis situation. Otherwise, I would have witnessed gun shots. It was my manoeuvre or else."
It’s not the first time that Coté has intervened in a dangerous situation. He was the officer that gunned down Kimveer Gil in the Dawson College shooting in 2006. At the time, Coté’s actions were considered heroic and he was awarded the medal of courage.
The inquiry continues Wednesday.