Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police were sitting ducks

Court hears of chaos during botched raid

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WITH the blast of a shotgun, a low-risk takedown of an alleged drug dealer turned into a nightmare for a Winnipeg police commander -- who suddenly realized his officers were sitting ducks in a scenario they'd never been trained to handle.

Sgt. Darin Kruger testified Monday that before the unknown and unseen shooter could be arrested inside a home at 723 Jubilee Ave., nearly two years ago, three officers suffered gunshot wounds and needed immediate medical help.

Daniell Ian Anderson, 22, has pleaded not guilty to attempting to kill two police officers -- Constables Don Murray and Curtis Penner -- and possessing a dangerous weapon.

The trial into the much-publicized shooting continues today.

Sgt. Kruger said until the shotgun blast, everything had gone as planned during the routine execution of a search warrant to arrest an alleged drug dealer on Dec. 7, 2006.

He said officers assembled near the home, a battering ram was used to successfully open a side door and officers went into the home yelling "Winnipeg police" and "search warrant" repeatedly.

Kruger said an older woman came into the kitchen screaming "'Do you have a warrant?' I remember her yelling continuously."

Kruger said things were settling down when Kruger said he heard a gunshot.

"Const. (Don) Murray is squirming on the floor in agony and pain," he told Justice Doug Abra of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.

That's when Kruger said he suddenly realized the shooter was in a bathroom in the centre of the house behind a closed door and officers in the other rooms surrounding it were all vulnerable.

"I panicked," he said.

"I knew myself and others were in danger. I yelled 'what the f--k, get back' and ran down the hallway to the kitchen... everybody was dispersing. Everyone was going for cover.

"I tried to think of something where we were trained for this and couldn't think of anything."

Kruger said he heard another bang and then three or four "popping sounds."

The officer said he raced around the outside of the house -- hoping to pull Murray out of the room he was in through a window -- but realized that was futile when he saw the window almost three metres above ground level.

While running back to the other side of the house, Kruger said he heard another gunshot and his fellow officers yelling "we got him."

Kruger said he got to the door inside to see Anderson being dragged out of the house on the ground by his arms.

Later, during questioning by defence counsel Roberta Campbell, Kruger admitted that when he filed his statement a few days after the incident he never described any of the shots as sounding like "popping."

Saying "I'm not an expert in post traumatic stress,"Kruger said in the days following his filing his statement his memory of the "popping sounds" was sparked by the sounds of a dishwasher and an alarm clock. "I can't explain it," he said.

Kruger said he didn't type out his statement until five days after the incident because "I went through days of despair and emotion."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 7, 2008 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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