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UPDATED - Gillespie describes moment he was shot by Const. Pompeo

Bill Gillespie waits outside the Duncan courthouse Tuesday during a break in the trial of police officer charged in connection with his 2009 shooting.  - Andrew Leong
Bill Gillespie waits outside the Duncan courthouse Tuesday during a break in the trial of police officer charged in connection with his 2009 shooting.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Graphic testimony by Bill Gillespie described the moment he was shot by Const. David Pompeo on Sept. 18, 2009.

"I knew I'd been shot,'' he said during questioning by Crown Counsel Todd Patola in Pompeo's aggravated assault trial at the Duncan courthouse. "I couldn't believe it. It was one of those flash bangs.

"Then I remember lying on the ground and blood gushing out all over my face. I remember tasting it and choking on it.''

Gillespie acknowledged he was driving while prohibited on Henry Road, heading toward friend Dale Brewer's place when he noticed a police vehicle behind him.

"Panic set in,'' Gillespie said. "I got nervous and realized the police were behind me. I figured there was nowhere to go so I pulled up into Dale's driveway where I was going in the first place.''

The panic stemmed from a three-year driving ban dating back to 2007, he said.

"You're caught, you're done, you're pinched,'' Gillespie said he thought to himself.

"They'll take the car away and I'll go to jail for seven days for driving while prohibited.''

Gillespie said he coasted down Juniper Road to Brewer's driveway, aware of the officers' presence.

"I didn't see the problem moving ahead 70 feet to pull into my friend's driveway.''

Gillespie said he stopped immediately in the driveway.

"There was no skidmarks or anything. I just came to a nice controlled stop.''

At that point, "Dale and I were both ordered out of the car at gunpoint,'' said Gillespie.

"I heard both officers. I, myself, was paying attention to the officer on the driver's side of the car.''

That was Const. Pompeo, who was accompanied by Const. David Barnett.

"What did you hear the officers say?'' Patola asked of Gillespie.

"Put your hands on your head and get down to your knees onto the ground,'' responded Gillespie.

"They were both shouting the same command — to get your hands on your head to where you can see them and get down on your knees and down on the ground.''

Gillespie said he complied with the order.

"I made bloody sure he knew I had nothing in my hands.''

After getting out of the car, Gillespie said he could see the officers had guns. He didn't know the names of the officers at the time.

"I could see Const. Pompeo's gun. Then I knew they really weren't messing around.

"I got down on my knees. I reached in front of me to lie down on the ground. At that time, I heard the loudest bang I ever heard in my life. It was like getting hit by a freight train. My body was on fire. It was beyond words what was going on.''

The bullet struck Gillespie in the top of the shoulder, close to the neck.

"The doctors don't know how it missed my heart, but it did,'' he said.

"Did you want to be shot that day?'' asked Patola.

"Heck, no,'' answered Gillespie.

Gillespie acknowledged he consumes marijuana, but "that day, if I did it was earlier on that morning. But I don't think I was smoking marijuana that day.''

Gillespie said he's also been trying to stay away from alcohol and was on Methadone trying to break an addiction to pills that was working great.

Under cross-examination, Gillespie seemed to grow increasingly weary from a grilling by Pompeo's defence lawyer, Ravi Hira.

Hira asserted Gillespie knew the police were behind him, he tried to flee, had drugs in his possession, did not follow commands to remove his hands from his pockets and refuted his claim that Pompeo kicked him.

It was also suggested Gillespie hatched an elaborate plot with Daniel Topping Sr., whom he was living with at the time, to stage an accident where he could claim money from ICBC.

"That is so not true,'' said Gillespie.

"Another way to make money was to get the police to chase you?'' asked Hira.

Again, Gillespie denied it.

Hira alleged Gillespie had spoken to Topping in November of 2009, suggesting he'd succeeded and was going to make millions of dollars by suing the police.

Gillespie agreed when confronted by Hira that he went to the Supreme Court of B.C. in February of 2011 to start a civil suit against Pompeo.

In earlier testimony, Hira tried to establish what Gillespie was wearing on the night of the shooting, most notably a jacket.

"I don't believe I was wearing a jacket,'' said Gillespie.

Hira showed Gillespie photos of items alleged to be in his possession that night, including two pill boxes with his name on them.

"They were in your jacket pocket, weren't they, sir?'' asked Hira.

Gillespie said that was years ago and he couldn't remember.

Hira attempted to confirm the contents of one vial, marked Diazepam.

"You had that in your left jacket pocket, didn't you sir?'' queried Hira.

"I would sometimes put marijuana in those containers, yeah,'' acknowledged Gillespie.

Hira suggested Gillespie was attempting to get rid of the drugs when stopped by police.

"That would be the least of my worries,'' said Gillespie.

Hira confirmed Gillespie was bound by a probation order in September of 2009, meaning he couldn't be caught with drugs.

"Being caught with drugs is so minor, it's nothing more than a verbal reprimand,'' said Gillespie.

Hira established Gillespie knew he was in possession of drugs, prohibited from driving, not to be found driving while under a probation order and knew he was being stopped by the police.

Hira asked how soon Gillespie realized the unmarked RCMP truck was behind him.

"I saw a truck way down the road,'' said Gillespie, as he made his way from the roundabout at Henry Road and Chemainus Road and up Henry to Juniper.

"I got halfway across the street and I heard the chirp. I saw the truck in my rear view mirror and that's when I knew I was being pulled over.''

Hira asked why Gillespie didn't pull over to the right side of the road where there was no impediment.

"You're only going another 10 feet till the driveway,'' said Gillespie.

Hira suggested Gillespie talked to Brewer about trading places in the car with him to avoid the law.

"Yeah, I wanted Dale to switch spots with me,'' Gillespie said. "I don't deny saying that. It was jokingly said to Dale. I was not serious about it.''

Becoming agitated at that point, "I don't know what this has to do with me being shot,'' said Gillespie.

Gillespie reiterated he "absolutely, categorically, was not fleeing.''

After being ordered out of the car by officers, "I deny moving forward towards him at all,'' Gillespie said.

Gillespie denied throwing his car keys or reaching for his pockets after being stopped by police.

"He said, 'don't move or we'll shoot,''' said Gillespie of the orders from Pompeo and Barnett.

"I was pretty much on the ground when I was shot. I was two inches away from the ground.''

Frank McGeragle, a neighbour to the Vesey house where Brewer was a tenant, testified he witnessed the incident.

"I heard a car come ripping down the road,'' he said. "It pulled in and stopped at the basement suite of the cottage. I stepped out of the trees a bit and watched.

"Two policemen got out of the vehicle and guns were drawn and said 'get out of the car' which both guys did quite quickly.''

McGeragle said Brewer was on the ground and handcuffed maybe in 10 seconds. "Dale knew the drill,'' said McGeragle.

As for Gillespie, McGeragle noticed he seemed confused.

"The body language was 'this is stupid' for a traffic violation. His hands went to the ground. There was hesitation. He reached back towards his pockets. There was the flutter of the hands followed by a loud banging.''

Three times, McGeragle said, he heard police officer commands to "get your hands out of your pockets.'''

After Gillespie was shot, McGeragle said Pompeo asked him who he was and whether he knew first aid. After responding that he did not, McGeragle said he was ordered away from the area by Pompeo and went out to Henry Road to direct the ambulance to the site.

Upon further questioning from Patola, McGeragle said the RCMP commands for Gillespie to take his hands away from his pockets were made three times in rapid succession.

"It was a very intense direct order that was yelled followed by a shot,'' McGeragle said.

The trial continues.

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