Zachary Gaudette provoked the altercation that killed him outside a Kelowna Cactus Club, says a witness to the incident.
Tyson Attwood testified at the manslaughter trial for Cory Richard Eric Van Gilder, Tuesday explaining he was outside the Banks Road restaurant with friends Feb. 17, 2016 when an “angry man” approached, spewing obscenities.
“(He was) throwing his arms up in a challenging manner,” said Attwood, who testified he’d had a “few drinks” at that time.
Attwood told jurors that Gaudette had stripped off his outer layer of clothing before approaching the crowd to pick a fight.
“He was constantly yelling—I’m pretty sure he was trying to egg us on … he was just being challenging,” said Attwood, adding later that his “adrenaline was pumping” and he was sure a fight would ensue.
Then, Attwood told jurors, Van Gilder emerged from the crowd and got into the space between the crowd and Gaudette.
Van Gilder, Attwood said, was not much bigger than Gaudette, though he was stockier and had a “bit of a gut.”
There were no words said and then Van Gilder struck.
“I can’t remember which hand he hit him with … it might have been his right hand. It was just a straight forward punch,” he said, later adding that it seemed clear that he didn’t throw his full mite into impact.
Attwood said that Gaudette’s’s reaction is what surprised him most about the altercation.
“I’ve never seen anyone react like that … usually when people get knocked out they convulse. He was convulsing a little .. but he was frozen. I looked into his eyes and something was going on,” he said.
Another one of his friends took Gaudette’s pulse, one more ran to call an ambulance and Attwood went to go get his clothes that he’d left behind when he first approached the group.
Gaudette was taken to hospital in serious condition and succumbed to his injuries two days later.
The jury trial is scheduled for nine days and started on Monday.