Advocate file photo

Three men accused of assaulting Blackfalds RCMP officer going to trial

RCMP officer shot and wounded one of alleged attackers in December 2019

Three men accused of attacking an RCMP officer during a road-side scuffle that saw one shot and wounded near Red Deer last December are heading to trial.

Red Deer provincial court Judge Darrell Riemer ordered the three men to stand trial following a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Chasetin John Arthur Morin, 25, and Johnathan Alfred Andrews, 28, are facing charges of robbery, assaulting a police officer, attempting to disarm a police officer and possessing stolen property over $5,000. Morin is also facing four charges related to breaching court orders and Andrews has a single breach charge.

Levi Hendrick Bennink, 26, was ordered to stand trial on charges of robbery and assaulting a police officer.

All three return to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Dec. 7.

RCMP say that on Dec. 13, 2019 police were called to a report of a single-vehicle collision west of Red Deer.

A Blackfalds RCMP officer, alone in her vehicle, went to the scene and found a second vehicle apparently stuck in a ditch near Burnt Lake Trail, about 10 km west of Red Deer.

The officer stopped to help three men trying to get their vehicle back on the road when it is alleged they turned on her and wrestled her to the ground. During the struggle, RCMP allege the men tried to grab her police equipment.

The marked police cruiser was equipped with an in-car video recording system that was running as the incident unfolded. The officer was able to fire her gun before the three men stole her police vehicle and took off.

Police soon found the vehicle abandoned in a field near Highway 11.

Three suspects were arrested shortly after. Andrews and Morin were uninjured. Bennink suffered a gunshot wound to his right calf. He was transported to hospital, treated and released into police custody.

The police officer suffered minor injuries.

Police allege the stopped vehicle was stolen. Investigators found a loaded firearm in the glove compartment.

As is routine, Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) launched an investigation into the incident. ASIRT’s mandate is to independently investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.

ASIRT confirmed on Thursday that its investigation is not yet complete.

Preliminary hearings are held to determine if there is enough evidence to take a case to trial. Testimony provided during the hearing is covered by a publication ban as are the reasons for the judge’s decision.

RCMP shooting

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