The failed cat-and-mouse attempt to apprehend a Canadian military veteran the day before he was killed by an RCMP emergency response team was described Tuesday during an inquest into the September 2012 death of Greg Matters.
Matters was wanted on allegations of dangerous driving and assault with a weapon for using his pickup truck to drive his brother off the road earlier that day but the RCMP members assigned to arrest him were worried the attempt would lead to an altercation.
Cst. Kyle Sharpe and Cst. Jared Sweeney both agreed with lawyers that the plan was to try and trick Matters, first by trying to coax him over the phone into attending the Prince George RCMP detachment.
When that didn't work, Sharpe talked Matters into meeting Mounties at the end of the driveway into the Pinko Road home where he lived with his mother and took along Sweeney in his RCMP vehicle while two other members also attended the scene but remained out of Matters' sight.
Matters did meet with the two at the spot when they showed up in the early evening but made sure to remain on the other side of a fence while talking to Sharpe and handing hime a statement about the incident earlier that day and copy of a peace bond, claiming a restraining order prohibited his brother from entering the property.
And when Sweeney tried to position himself between Matters and the home at the other end of the driveway, Matters retreated and was soon back in the house where he continued to talk to Sharpe from the doorstep.
When they asked for the registration papers for Matters' truck, his mother retrieved them for him. And when they asked about the "doughnuts" Matters claimed his brother made upon driving onto the property, prompting the chase and collision, he remained inside the door and pointed at tire marks on the driveway.
They also noticed "weapons of opportunity" at the back of the house that Matters could have used, notably a tire iron and an "axe or a hatchet, laying around there with a sharp edge" according to Sharpe.
He described Matters' demeanour as "polite but suspicious."
They then gave up and drove back to where the other two were sitting. Sharpe and Sweeney then parked at the corner of Bendixon and Pinko Roads and waited to see if Matters would leave the property before they were relieved by other members.
At no time did they tell Matters he was under arrest, concerned he would simply retreat back into the house and grab a weapon, possibly a firearm, while they were about 100 feet away from their police car.
"It would completely have put us at a disadvantage at which myself or Cst. Sweeney could have been severely hurt or killed," Sharpe said.
Asked if they ever gave Matters the opportunity to surrender himself, Sharpe said Matters was offered the opportunity to come to the detachment while talking over the phone earlier that day.
Sharpe said RCMP were "well aware" of Matters' military training, his troubles with post-traumatic stress disorder and the threats he had made, including shooting any police who stepped onto his property, although both he and Sweeney admitted they never knew Matters to have acted on such threats.
Asked if he was afraid of Matters, Sharpe said yes.
On way to the scene, Sweeney said he used the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database to run a background check on Matters and it showed cautions for violence and mental instability and remarks related to threats he had made as well as advising extreme caution.
To get fuller details, Sweeney said he would have had to use Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME). Asked why he did not, Sweeney said his failure to do so "was a mistake on my part." However, when asked by the jury whether it would have made a difference in how he approached Matters, Sweeney said probably not.
The inquest continues today at the Prince George courthouse, 9 a.m. start.