Jenny Zollerano poses for a photo with her younger brother, Lloyd Sarson, in Red Deer in September 2010. Sarson was gunned down in a Red Deer back alley on New Year’s Day 2013.

Eyewitness to murder testifies at trial

Sitting in back seat when shots fired

There was no warning before a teen allegedly fired a fusillade of shots at the driver in a Red Deer back alley on New Year’s Day 2013.

Chato Tootoosis, 27, testified on Monday that he was sitting in the back seat when the 17-year-old in the front stepped out of the car, pulled out a gun and shot Lloyd Robert Sarson numerous times in rapid fashion.

There had been no angry words nor confrontation before the shocking moment of violence that ended with the gunman fleeing into the dark.

Crown prosecutor Rajbir Dhillon asked what Tootoosis was doing as the shots rang out around 5 a.m.

“Watching. Hoping I wasn’t going to be the next one to get shot,” Tootoosis testified in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench before an eight-man and four-woman jury.

A 21-year-old man is on trial for first-degree murder in Sarson’s death. He can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act because he was 17 at the time of the shooting.

As soon as the shooter was gone, Tootoosis went to help Sarson, 25, who was coughing and making gurgling noises.

“That’s it. He didn’t say anything. He just started dying.”

An autopsy would later determine that Sarson was shot eight times, seven of the .22-calibre bullets lodging in his body. He died quickly of blood loss.

Tootoosis said he stole a car in Calgary about a day earlier and picked up a friend to make the trip to Red Deer to see friends. He and a group of others, including Sarson, spent most of New Year’s Eve and into New Year’s Day drinking, socializing, and making drug deals.

Just before the shooting, Sarson, the accused and Tootoosis had been driving around and wound up in the alley, where the shooting happened.

Afterwards, Tootoosis ran to a friend’s house, then went to a hotel to retrieve his cellphone. He ended up at another friend’s house where he told him about the shooting, but told him to keep quiet.

In cross-examination, defence lawyer Karen Molle, of Calgary, picked apart Tootoosis’s statements to police, pointing out a number of discrepancies.

He didn’t tell police about the stolen car at first and admitted lying to police about a friend not being home when he went to his house after the shooting.

She also asked him whether he had blood on his clothes after trying to move Sarson into the passenger seat. He said he didn’t know.

“I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do or where to go.”

The trial resumes on Tuesday. Molle said a decision has not been made on whether the accused will take the stand in his own defence.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Break-in at Red Deer business

Social media reports confirm a business break and enter in Red Deer… Continue reading

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Trudeau rules out snap election call, national ballot slated for Oct. 21

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be no early… Continue reading

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North America

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

Most Read