Accused in NWT Mountie’s murder says fatal shots were fired during struggle

A man accused of killing an RCMP officer in the Northwest Territories two years ago says the fatal shots were fired as the pair struggled in the dark over a gun.

YELLOWKNIFE — A man accused of killing an RCMP officer in the Northwest Territories two years ago says the fatal shots were fired as the pair struggled in the dark over a gun.

Emrah Bulatci, who is charged with first-degree murder, told a packed and silent courtroom Thursday that he never meant to kill Const. Chris Worden.

“(Worden) was on top of me,” Bulatci said. “He had my head pinned down. He was struggling to get my right arm. He was pulling it back.

“I was trying to get my hand free and that’s when the gun went off. It went off twice — it was like bang-bang.

“He fell and he stopped fighting with me. I pushed him off and I panicked. I just got up and ran.

“I didn’t look back.”

Bulatci, who is from St. Albert just outside Edmonton, tried to plead guilty to manslaughter at the start of his trial last month. The Crown did not accept that plea and the trial went ahead.

In more than two hours of calm, level testimony Thursday, Bulatci laid out his story as Worden’s widow sat quietly and listened intently.

He testified that he arrived in Hay River on Sept 29, 2007, with nearly 10 ounces of crack cocaine he wanted to sell to pay off a $17,000 drug debt. He stopped along the way to buy a .45-calibre handgun.

“I had problems with some guys and I needed protection,” he said.

He had planned to sell the coke in High Level, Alta., but he and his two associates decided they could make more money by going to Hay River instead.

They stashed the bulk of the drugs and the gun outside town and set up shop. After a few days, Bulatci retrieved the gun because he believed a rival drug dealer was after him. He kept it tucked in the waistband of his pants or stashed in the drug house behind a ventilator grill.

He testified that business went smoothly. Most of the cocaine had been sold and $15,000 collected by the early morning of Oct. 6.

That’s the morning, court has heard, that Worden was called back after finishing his shift to search for a man who was believed to be suicidal. Reports placed the man at the drug house, so Worden came by about 6 a.m. — just as Bulatci and his friends were shutting down for the night.

Bulatci said he was climbing into a cab with his buddies when he realized he’d left the gun inside. He went to retrieve it and when he returned, Worden was standing there.

The officer questioned the three, and when Bulatci tried to get in the cab, he told him he was under arrest and asked him to put his hands on the trunk of the car.

“He took a couple of steps toward me and I just panicked and ran,” said Bulatci. “I took off.”

Bulatci, 25, said he ran across the street into a wooded area so he could get far enough away from Worden to ditch the gun. But the young officer kept coming and yelling “Stop resisting!” Bulatci ran back out onto the road and took the gun out.

“I knew I was going to get caught, so I grabbed the gun. I loaded it. I was running. I turned around and I aimed low because I thought if I shot him in the legs he’d stop chasing me.”

Worden, 30, kept coming. Bulatci headed backed into the trees, but this time stumbled and fell. Worden leaped on top of him and, said Bulatci, was shot as he tried to wrest the gun from the suspect’s right hand.

Defence lawyer Laura Stevens asked Bulatci several times if he meant to fire the fatal shots.

“Absolutely not,” he answered. “I wasn’t trying to kill him.”

Bulatci went on to describe his attempts to escape. He fled back to Edmonton as RCMP mounted an extensive search for him. He shifted from house to house and hotel to hotel. He was also trying to keep the co-operation of his drug associates.

“I couldn’t make myself look weak to them; otherwise they’d rob me or beat me up.”

Both happened. At one point, Bulatci said, he was bound with duct tape, beaten with bats and robbed of the money he’d made in Hay River.

Eventually, he was tracked down at the home of his friend’s girlfriend. Trapped by police tactical teams, Bulatci emerged after three hours from the basement where he’d been hiding.

“I said, ’I’m down here in the basement.’ They said, ’Come upstairs. Keep your hands where we can see them.”’

A police officer stood before him and told Bulatci to turn slowly around and then walk toward him.

“I was arrested.”

Just Posted

Body of deceased man found in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

Police haven’t yet determined cause of death

Red Deer area businesses recognized at Business of the Year Awards night

“It’s an honour just to be nominated.” The popular words echoed throughout… Continue reading

Child sex offender should get 12 years: Crown prosecutor

Stuart Peter Hunt has pleaded guilty to 10 child sexual exploitation and pornography charges

Legalizing cannabis cost estimate for Red Deer just under $400k

Although the province of Alberta has announced $11.2 million for cannabis legalization,… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

The celebratory mood that marked the legalization of recreational cannabis lost a… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Most Read