Son says he fled when father was shot because he was ‘scared’


Tribune Court Reporter


THE son of the blind man shot and killed by police while he was driving a motorcycle in 2018 told a coroner’s court yesterday that he fled the scene because he was “scared”.

Courtney Elvardo Thompson, 36, was shot dead on January 26, 2018. Acting coroner’s court Magistrate Kara Turnquest-Deveaux continued the hearing yesterday. It is said that on the night in question Sergeant S Braynen shot Thompson in the back of the neck as he rode as a passenger on a motorcycle, resulting in him falling on the road on Plantol Street off East Street.

Officers report that they opened fire on the motorcycle after the driver brandished a firearm at them.

Sergeant Braynen is represented by Attorney K Melvin Munroe. The interests of the estate of the deceased were being represented by Joel Seymour. This case will not determine civil or criminal liability.

In his testimony, the victim’s son, Elvardo Thompson, said he had picked up his father to get food when on the way back he encountered the police, leading him to exclaim, “Oh s* the man.”

After a police chase, he heard shots behind him and said he only looked back when his father first fell off the bike before fleeing the scene as officers stopped near the body.

“I was scared so I just went straight home and called my Grammy telling her to go check on Dad.”

Thompson also said that he never had a firearm the night of his father’s murder and that he kept his hands on the motorbike at all times.

The victim’s son appeared distraught after surveillance footage of the shooting was shown as well as photos of his father’s body.

During cross-examination, when asked why he was trying to evade the police he told them it was because his bike was both unlicensed and uninsured. He maintained the reason he didn’t turn back after his father fell off is because he was scared. He also said he was “unaware” of who fired the shot that killed his father.

When asked why he didn’t go to the police after this incident, he said “no one was looking for me and there weren’t any warrants out for me”.

In a previous hearing, ASP Randolph Deleveaux testified the alleged gunman was never found.

Questioned whether his uncle, Lawrence Thompson, was present the night of his father’s shooting, Elvardo said that he “didn’t see him”. He went on to say that neither he nor his father saw his uncle that day.

This contradicts previous testimony made by Lawrence Thompson who claimed to have both witnessed the shooting and confronted the police in its aftermath.

While being questioned by Mr Seymour on why he didn’t check on his father after the shooting he agreed with the lawyer’s assertion that he “panicked” as he was only 18 at the time.

Responding to the insinuation that he had hidden a gun in his waist as he rounded the corner to evade police, Elvardo maintained he never had a gun and that his hands were on the throttle “the whole time”.

Dr Caryn Sands, forensic pathologist at PMH, presented her autopsy report to the magistrate which was officially entered into evidence. In it, she listed Courtney Thompson’s official cause of death as a gunshot wound to the neck. She went on to say that the bullet entered the neck from the front right side and exited through the left after it went through his esophagus and trachea. She ruled the victim died of extensive blood loss from that wound.

With the help of photos from the autopsy, Dr Sands indicated the victim had suffered a laceration to the back of the head from when he hit the ground as well as abrasions to his back and leg.

Responding to a question from Mr Seymour, Dr Sands said it was “highly unlikely” the deceased could have survived the injuries he received from the shooting.

In a question from the jury as to how far the shooter was from the victim, she said there was no evidence of it being a close range shooting and it was more likely that the barrel was likely more than 3ft away from the skin.

The case was adjourned for closing submissions at noon today.

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