CORNWALL – An SD&G O.P.P. officer considered using deadly force for the first time in his career to stop a Niagara Falls, Ont. man trying to take off from a parking lot in Glen Walter this summer.
Judge Gilles Renaud read Const. John Fitzpatrick’s victim impact statement into the record on Friday (Oct. 25) during sentencing submissions for 20-year-old Joshua Tucker-Lauzon.
Tucker-Lauzon has pled guilty to escaping custody, mischief, assault with a weapon causing bodily harm, assaulting a police officer, driving while prohibited, dangerous driving, failing to comply with a probation order and dangerous driving while impaired.
He had fled Quebec authorities and was parked in the parking lot of the Precious Blood Parish in Glen Walter on Aug. 3 when SD&G O.P.P. officers closed in. Tucker-Lauzon had outstanding warrants.
“The fear I felt at the time that he (Tucker-Lauzon) may serious injure or kill myself or officer (Tyler) Brown or prevent us from going home to our families, resulted in me seriously considering using deadly force against him as he began to put his vehicle in motion and contacting me with it,” Renaud recited.
The main thing that stopped him from shooting was Const. Tyler Brown was in his crossfire.
“I can honestly say this was the first occasion where I had seriously considered and almost followed through with using deadly force against a person and this was not a lighthearted decision,” Fitzpatrick wrote.
Court heard both officers had been dragged for some distance in the lot off County Road 2 during the interaction.
Fitzpatrick writes that he has remained “on edge” doing traffic stops since that stop in August.
He’s also concerned about his well-being and whether he was exposed to a communicable disease as both he and Brown had Tucker-Lauzon’s blood on their face, skin and clothing. Testing hasn’t turned up anything but Fitzpatrick will be concerned until “some time has passed.”
Assessing the situation, Fitzpatrick writes it is “completely mind boggling.”
The Crown is seeking the “higher end” of a range of 21-24 months in jail while the defence is looking for 6-9 months.
Crown attorney Raffael Beaulieu says Tucker-Lauzon used his vehicle as a weapon in an unprovoked attack on the officers.
Defence lawyer Rob McGowan contends that Tucker-Lauzon only drove dangerously “only after he was struck repeatedly in the face (by the police officers) resulting in the blood spatter et cetera.”
The court will hold a Gardiner hearing, which is a formal hearing of the evidence in dispute. In this case, it’s whether Tucker-Lauzon was trying to get away after being woken up or whether he was trying to get away, reacting to a beating he allegedly received from the two officers.
How that evidence is perceived by a judge will weigh on the severity of the sentence.
That trial on the evidence will be heard on one day in late December where Tucker-Lauzon and the two officers are expected to testify.