NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — An Alberta man “ambushed” a police officer moments after he got out of his vehicle, shooting him from behind and then standing over his unmoving body and shooting him again, a British Columbia court heard Monday. Crown prosecutor Theresa Iandiorio made the allegations in her opening arguments in the trial of Oscar Arfmann, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Const. John Davidson of the Abbotsford Police Department.
Davidson, 53, died Nov. 6, 2017, after he responded to reports of a possible stolen vehicle and shots fired.
“Within moments of getting out of his police vehicle, Const. Davidson was ambushed by the accused, Oscar Arfmann,” Iandiorio told a B.C. Supreme Court.
Arfmann, 66, pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial, which is being held before a judge alone.
He appeared in court dressed in a black sweatsuit with grey hair that reached his shoulders.
Iandiorio told the trial the Crown plans to call 30 witnesses to prove that Arfmann killed Davidson using a rifle that police later found in the passenger seat of a black Mustang he was driving. Several knives and ammunition for the rifle were also recovered from the vehicle, she said.
Arfmann is alleged to have taken the Mustang from a car dealership without paying for it two days before the incident, she told the court.
When employees of the dealership spotted the Mustang parked in a handicap spot, the dealership manager parked his pickup to block it from leaving and reported it to police. The car had an Alberta licence plate, the court heard.
“This Alberta licence plate was registered to Mr. Arfmann’s sister,” Iandiorio said.
Arfmann returned to the car before police arrived and when the manager approached him he pulled out a knife, then reached into the Mustang for a rifle and shot toward the pickup, she said.
He got in the car, jumped a curb and began driving away, but Iandiorio said he made a U-turn back to the complex where she alleged he had a second vehicle parked.
Const. Davidson was the first officer on the scene and was shot from behind within moments of getting out of his vehicle, Iandiorio said.
“Const. Davidson fell face first on the ground. He did not move. He began bleeding,” she said.
Arfmann then approached the officer, who was motionless, and shot him again, Iandiorio said.
The suspect drove off in the Mustang and was arrested after police rammed his vehicle and shot at him, Iandiorio said.
Davidson, who had been with the Fraser Valley police department for 11 years, began his policing career in the United Kingdom in 1993 before moving to B.C.
He is survived by his wife and three adult children.
His family members declined comment outside the court.
Several law enforcement members, some of them in tears during parts of the proceeding, sat with the family in court.
The first witness called was Const. Ken Lewko, a forensic expert who has been a member of the Abbotsford Police Department for 29 years.
He told the trial it was a cool, dry and sunny Monday when he heard on the police radio what sounded like a reports of stolen vehicle that was on the move.
He headed toward the site because he thought his expertise in fingerprinting and photography might be helpful.
“As we approached the scene, the radio transmissions on the police radio became chaotic. We understood that something serious was going on, however we did not know the extent of what had happened,” he told the court.
Police tape was being strung when he arrived, he said, and he then described some of the drone footage and 178 photos he took at the scene.
The Mustang convertible had extensive damage to its front and rear, as well as to its driver’s side, he said. Several police vehicles parked nearby were also damaged.
Lewko said he saw the suspect sitting on the ground by the Mustang with blood on his face and chest.
Amy Smart, The Canadian Press