A court heard on Thursday from shelter workers who — just hours before a Toronto police officer was killed by a snowplow two years ago — talked to the man responsible for his death.
Richard Kachkar, 46, is on trial in the death of Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and dangerous driving.
Witness Logan Bodera was working at the Good Shepherd shelter on Queen Street East on Jan. 11, 2011, the night before Russell died.
“I’m glad my part is over,” he told the court on Wednesday. “I hope the rest goes OK. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
Bodera recorded Kachkar’s information while admitting him for a bed. He said Kachkar had told him he had two kids, was from Armenia and had once had a job in construction.
Bodera said Kachkar seemed “nervous and kind of sad.”
Under cross-examination, Bodera, who has a masters in psychology, testified he remembered thinking Kachkar should have been given a mental health assessment.
Surveillance video played in court shows Kachkar walking into the shelter’s dining area wearing a winter coat. A later clip shows him running down the stairs and out the back door without the coat.
The court has heard Kachkar then stole a snowplow, drove it erratically through the city and, around 6 a.m., aimed straight at Russell as the officer fired his gun in vain.
Another shelter employee, Dennis Gayle, also talked to Kachkar hours before Russell was killed. He says the accused told him “he might do something bad.”
“I thought he definitely had a problem,” Gayle said. “It was winter. His clothes were wet. He was very anxious or nervous. He had a distant look.
“[The look said] this man should be on medication and he’s currently not.”
The judge has told the jury there’s no question Kachkar was the person driving the snowplow and that the case centres around his mental state. The Crown alleges Kachkar meant to kill Russell.
— With files from Cynthia Mulligan and The Canadian Press