Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Slugs could have killed, city cops' trial hears

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Bullets that missed a fleeing suspect in River Heights could have travelled almost two kilometres and still have injured or killed a person.

Winnipeg police patrol Sgt. Kevin Wiens, who works in the firearms section of the department's forensic identification unit, testified Tuesday it's one of the capabilities of the Glock .40-calibre handgun that all Winnipeg police officers carry in their holsters.

"The bullet would lose a lot of energy, but it is still capable of serious bodily harm or death," he said.

Wiens said that's why police officers, when they have to use their gun, are taught to shoot at a person's chest because "it's a huge target.

"Quite simply, handgun shooting is not a fine art. It is easy to miss with a handgun."

Wiens was testifying at the trial of two Winnipeg police officers accused of shooting at a fleeing man they thought had been involved in the armed robbery of a nearby convenience store in River Heights.

Const. Darrel Keith Selley is charged with attempted murder using a firearm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm in the shooting of Kristofer Shaun Fournier on July 16, 2007.

Selley and Const. Kristopher John Overwater have pleaded not guilty to intending to wound Fournier by firing a Glock .40-calibre handgun, aggravated assault and obstruction of justice.

A bullet hit Fournier, 23, in his buttocks after three other shots missed him. He earlier testified he was shot after leading police on a high-speed chase because he was high on meth and had cocaine on him.

He said the bullet struck him as he ran down a back alley near Grant Avenue after hearing somebody yell, "Shoot him, (expletive) shoot him."

Wiens said that although a bullet can travel far from a handgun, it doesn't pack as much power as a bullet from as a high-powered rifle.

"Handgun cartridges are under powered. They are not like (those in) a high-powered rifle," he told a six-man, six-woman Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench jury.

"They want as much penetration as they can. They want the bullet to expand as much as it can. The perfect wound tunnel would be long and wide. The more tissue that bullet can upset... there would be more massive bleeding," Wiens said.

When asked whether officers should shoot a handgun while running, he said: "We don't teach it, I'll put it that way... you're not going to hit much."

But he agreed with defence counsel Saul Simmonds that in a stressful situation, all bets are off.

Wiens said he knows about Glock handguns because he was part of the team that helped the police department switch from using Smith and Wesson pistols to Glocks during a two-year period starting in 1995.

As well, he said he has visited the gun manufacturer's facilities in Canada and the United States and has fired "tens of thousands of shots" with the gun.

The trial continues.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2013 B2

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