Police involved in the car chase following a 2016 drive-by shooting in Nanaimo took the stand in the B.C. Supreme Court trial Wednesday.
Armaan Singh Chandi, 18 when he was arrested, has pleaded not guilty to five charges related to the shooting: use of a prohibited firearm with the intention to commit murder, reckless discharge of a firearm, concealing face with the intention of committing an indictable offence, dangerous driving and failing to stop for a peace officer. The shooting occurred around 4 p.m. on March 1, 2016 in the Wakesiah Avenue/Second Street area and an ensuing car chase ended in Duncan.
Nick Barber and Caroline Narroway, Crown counsel, called Const. Allison Wanner, then with Ladysmith RCMP, to the stand and she recounted the chase following the shooting.
Wanner testified that she had received a dispatch call that day to assist Nanaimo RCMP in relation to locating a suspect vehicle, a Mazda, that may have been involved in the drive-by.
Wanner told Narroway she positioned her “fully marked” Ford Explorer at a lot at the north edge of Ladysmith, watching for the vehicle, which was believed to be southbound on the Trans-Canada Highway. She eventually observed the Mazda with its turn signal on and as it came toward her, it suddenly made lane changes and took an exit into Ladysmith.
Wanner said the Mazda turned onto French Street, where there was a truck blocking its way. She said she received direction to trap the vehicle, but it turned around,
rammed into the front passenger side of her vehicle, and then pulled around her. Wanner said her vehicle was still operational and she continued pursuit.
Wanner testified that the Mazda headed back onto the highway, headed south toward Duncan and a police van was among those joining the pursuit. The Mazda was weaving in and out of lanes, according to Wanner, who also said she saw the car drive over a bike lane, through a shoulder and into an intersection, “whatever way it could so it didn’t get slowed down or stopped in traffic.” She described the way the Mazda was driven as “dangerous.”
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Duncan RCMP were notified about the chase and Wanner described the traffic in Duncan as “bottleneck.” The chase ended up at the intersection of the highway and Coronation Avenue, where Wanner was told there would be a road block. The area was also one that saw a lot of pedestrians as well.
The Mazda came to a stop and Wanner turned into a left-hand turn lane in the intersection in order to block the Mazda again. She said she saw police approach the car with guns drawn and arrest the two suspects.
Wanner did a preliminary search of the vehicle, which didn’t reveal anything, and then helped direct traffic.
Inderpal Singh Aujla, the other man arrested, pleaded guilty Monday to charges, including using a prohibited firearm for attempted murder. He will be sentenced later.
The trial is expected to take two weeks and continues Thursday.