Saskatoon police officers, including members of the tactical support unit, outside the home where Joshua Megeney died on Oct. 6, 2018. Const. Jesse Jackson, who fired the shot that killed Megeney inside the home, is on the right.
Greg Pender / The StarPhoenix
The two Saskatoon police officers who shot at Joshua John Robert Kyle Megeney said the 28-year-old man asked to speak with his mother moments before pointing a loaded rifle at them, precipitating the gunfire that ended his life.“I want to make one last call to my mother,” Megeney said, according to Const. Jesse Jackson’s testimony during the second day of a coroner’s inquest into the circumstances surrounding the Medicine Hat man’s death on Oct. 6, 2016.Const. Blake Atkinson, who was standing beside Jackson, told the inquest he recalled Megeney adding that he wanted to “say I’m sorry” to his mother, which he interpreted as a potential indicator of a “suicide or death by cop scenario.”Jackson and Atkinson, both of whom are veteran members of the Saskatoon Police Service and part of its tactical support unit, were among the first officers to respond to reports of a burglary at 501 Avenue Q South around 9:15 a.m. that day.The inquest heard this week that police systematically cleared the house and determined that one or more suspects were in the upstairs bedroom, which also contained a gun safe that could be opened with a hammer or similar tool.Jackson, 35, testified that the person in the room identified himself as “Mike” and said “something about a phone call,” but could not be heard clearly. Breaching the door was an attempt to improve communications, Jackson testified.Tactical support unit leader Sgt. Ken Kane had an “odd feeling” and instructed Jackson to retrieve his ballistic helmet from his patrol car, at which point cries of “Gun! Gun! Gun! He’s got a gun!” came from inside the house, Jackson testified.Sgt. Kyla Hicks, who investigated the incident for the SPS, told the inquest Monday that officers in the stairwell leading up to the breached door saw a man with a long-barrelled firearm, later determined to be a 7mm hunting rifle.
Joshua John Robert Megeney, a 28-year-old from Medicine Hat, was found dead in the bedroom of an Avenue Q North home where a seven-hour standoff with Saskatoon police took place on Oct. 6, 2016. (Facebook)
Jackson testified Tuesday that when he re-entered the house with his helmet, he passed police officers with scared and worried expressions coming down the stairs. Jackson said he took up a position watching the door with Const. Blake Atkinson.Moments later, Jackson said, he saw a silhouette of a man aiming a rifle through the door, which was open approximately 12 inches. Atkinson, 38, said he saw the rifle scope’s illuminated green reticle, while Jackson recalled seeing a reflection on the glass.“As soon as I saw that, it was like a flash through my head — well, I’m about to die,” Atkinson said of the moment before he loosed two rounds at the figure between the partially open door and the door jamb.Atkinson’s shots caused Megeney’s head to move away from the rifle and out of sight before it returned to the aiming position, looking through the telescopic sight, Jackson said, at which point he fired a single round at the figure from his police-issue rifle.“I was definitely scared for my life … I believed he was about to pull the trigger, and if I didn’t pull the trigger first, one of us would be shot,” Jackson said of the moments after he stepped into the hallway and aimed his rifle at the door.Under cross-examination by Scott Spencer, the lawyer representing Megeney’s family, Jackson defended his decision to step out of cover and “set up the shot” after Atkinson fired his rounds, both of which missed and hit the ceiling.“You had him lined up … he came into your aim and you shot him,” Spencer said, leading Jackson to respond that he made the “split-second” decision to point his rifle at the door to effectively double the chances of a hit should the threat reappear.Spencer went on to question Jackson and Atkinson on what they could have done to ensure communication and negotiation with the suspect rather than breach the door. Both said opening the door and retreating was likely the best option available.The six-member inquest jury, which is tasked with determining the cause of death rather than assigning blame, is expected to spend the rest of the week hearing evidence before beginning firstname.lastname@example.org/macphersonaRelated