The Mountie who faced several rounds of bullets as he tried to speed away from gunmen careening down Westside Road in a stolen vehicle July 31, 2012, says he knows it was the driver who pulled the trigger.
“One hundred per cent— I’d put my pension on it,” said Cpl. Richard Gingras, recounting how he could see the nose of the large gun aimed at him out of the driver side window of the black truck that was pursuing him, through his own side mirror.
He’s also pretty sure that the driver was Michael Ellis, who’s on trial for 22 charges, five of which are attempted murder.
Gingras remembered Ellis’s face, he said, from the view of him “under (his) knee” as he helped take him into police custody.
“I was worried I wouldn’t know it was him when I walked into that courtroom … but it was a fraction of a second, and I knew it was him,” he said.
The Vernon Mountie was originally caught in the crosshairs of Ellis, Shawn Adam Wysinski and Ashley Collins when he parked his truck on Westside Road to block the trio’s escape from Kelowna Mounties who had been in pursuit since shots were fired at a police cruiser on Boucherie Road.
At first, the occupants of the stolen vehicle tried to wave the vehicle out of the way, but Gingras put on his emergency lights they opened fire and he had to speed to keep out of their way.
The audio of those nail-biting moments is available on YouTube, although it was earlier played in court.
“He’s shooting at me, he’s shooting at me, he’s shooting at me with a rifle,” Gingras told other officers through the radio. “He’s got a big, tall rifle and he’s shooting at me.”
That continued on for some time, then eventually support from other police officers came along, and the tables were turned.
Police near the Vernon side of Westside Road had set up a spike belt, and the vehicle carrying Ellis, Wysinski and ran over it. While the continued to drive on their rims for awhile, it didn’t take long for the vehicle to slow to a stop.
By that time, there were two other RCMP suburbans in chase of the suspects, as we’ll as Gingras, right behind.
Although he didn’t clearly see the moment Ellis and Shawn Wisynski exited the vehicle, he didn’t believe they had time to criss-cross in front of the truck and change places.
Therefore, he believes it was Ellis who was driving and Ellis who was shooting at him.
The trial that’s retracing the chase that started on Boucherie Road and ended on the outskirts of Vernon will resume Monday. Crown counsel is calling somewhere in the area of 40 witnesses to offer their account.
Ellis’s alleged accomplices confessed their role in the crime in June and will be sentenced this fall.
Collins was shot by police fire when she was riding in the box of a stolen truck. She’s recovered from her injuries.