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Chasing armed criminals?

Knowing how things turned out, he would probably do it the same way all over again.

That comment was made by Crown witness Michael Scott, who spoke with the media outside the Kelowna Courthouse following his testimony in the Michael Ellis attempted murder trial.

Scott chose to continue following a suspect’s vehicle which blew through his construction site during a high-speed chase on Westside Road in 2012. He testified to seeing three people carjack two different vehicles and shoot at him on three separate occasions – including Ellis, who Scott identified as the man who shot at him from point blank range.

“It was totally unexpected,” says Scott, who explains it was a very chaotic scene when he pulled up behind the silver minivan allegedly driven by Ellis with two other passengers on board.

“And, while I was trying to assess what was happening – I had the phone in my hand and was ready to call 911 – the next thing I know, an individual appeared behind the vehicle, whipped out a short sawed-off gun, and starting firing shots.

Scott testified Monday that when he saw Ellis pull out the gun, he immediately ducked below the dashboard of his truck. During cross-examination Tuesday, and out on the courtroom steps, he again described the events of July 31.

“Initially I was more in shock. Once I realized (the bullets) didn’t breach my windshield, I guess I was sort of angry that someone would fire a firearm at me,” he said.

“But my main concern at that point was seeing the frenzied action. There were papers spilling out of the vehicle; I didn’t know if it was a kidnapping, or a carjacking, or if it had been a bank robbery.

“I just saw their nature and how they indiscriminately fired bullets at me. I just felt it was in my best interest that I keep these people in sight, and keep 911 informed so they could be apprehended as soon as possible.”

Having seen the weapon in court, Scott believes the gun used on him was a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle with a barrel that had been chopped down – which is why the bullets never punctured his windshield.

“There was maybe three inches of barrel beyond the sight ejection chamber. I just don’t think it had enough muzzle velocity to actually do much damage to my vehicle,” Scott reasons.

“One went through my grill, directly in line with my person at mid grill level. There’s another bullet crease on my hood, about three or four inches long, and there’s a little bullet smear off the top of my windshield.

“They bounced off my hood and off the windshield. I think the muzzle velocity was so slow with the gun, with the barrel having been cut down, its speed was probably a quarter of what it should have been.”

To which Scott says he is extremely grateful that those weapons had been altered the way they had.

He also noted with amazement that nobody had been seriously injured or killed during the hour-long chase, especially considering the multiple car-jackings and the number of times that shots were fired by the suspects.

“It’s chilling to think of what could have happened. I could have orphaned both of my kids that day. I try not to dwell on that too much. I can’t go back and I can’t change my actions of that day – I made a split-second decision and I stand by my actions.”

Ellis is facing 22 charges in relation to the chase. Shawn Adam Wysynski and Ashlee Collins have already pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the same incident and have yet to be sentenced.

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