A Red Deer Mountie has been praised for heroism and bravery during a violent arrest at a Red Deer metal shop earlier this year.
Sgt. Geoff Greenwood and Const. Adam St. John of the Red Deer City RCMP were among a team of police officers called to the Tervita metal recycling shop in the city’s north end on Feb. 1 to take down a fugitive who was delivering a load of scrap metal.
While other officers used their vehicles to block the door to the bay their suspect was using, Greenwood and St. John walked into the building, guns drawn, Crown prosecutor Robin Snider said in Red Deer provincial court on Monday.
They motioned two civilian workers away from a pickup truck the man was unloading, and then ordered him to stop what he was doing.
Ignoring their commands, the man reached behind his back with one hand, told the approaching officers that he had a gun, and then got into the driver’s seat of the truck.
Greenwood got in on the passenger side with his service pistol still drawn, planning to shut the truck down. However, the ignition lock had been broken and fell apart when he grabbed it, said Snider.
A struggle ensued, during which Greenwood dropped his pistol and suffered numerous injuries while the fugitive rammed the truck through the closed door and into the collection of police cars that were blocking his escape.
The one-ton truck was wedged between a police car and a pipe, its wheels still spinning and starting to smoke, when fellow officers came to Greenwood’s aid and pulled the fugitive from the driver’s side, said Snider.
Richard Allan Parkhurst, 49, was charged with 17 offences, including attempted murder, dangerous driving and assaulting police officers Greenwood and St. John.
Represented by defence counsel John MacNaughton, Parkhurst was brought back to court for sentencing on Monday, after pleading guilty on Friday to 12 of the 17 charges laid against him. Charges also include possession of stolen property, including the truck as well as the metals it carried.
The charge of attempted murder was withdrawn.
MacNaughton said Parkhurst had resorted to what he knew after being released from Bowden Institution five weeks earlier with only $77 in cash.
Calling Parkhurst “recidivist, vile and dangerous,” Judge Gordon Yake sentenced him on Monday to six years in prison, minus credit for eight of the 10 months he has served in custody. The other two months were put toward his previous prison term.
Yake also banned Parkhurst from driving anywhere in Canada for the rest of his life and prohibited him from possessing firearms or other weapons for 20 years after his release from prison.
Yake told Parkhurst that he was lucky to be alive after telling the police that he had a gun.
Pointing to Parkhurst’s record of 44 previous convictions on similar offences, Yake said he believes the accused man is “institutionalized” and likely to reoffend upon his release from prison.
“All I can do is attempt to protect the public and denounce (his crimes),” said Yake.
He then commended Greenwood for his actions during Parkhurst’s arrest.
“Sgt. Greenwood reacted bravely and, as a result, suffered long-term injuries.”