Shelter Worker Tells Court Kachkar 'Definitely Had Problems'
Less than 12 hours before Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell was struck and killed by a stolen snowplow, a homeless shelter employee says the man behind the wheel asked if he could call the RCMP because he thought “he might do something bad.”
Dennis Gayle, an employee at the Good Shepherd on Queen St. near Parliament testified in court on the seventh day of Richard Kachkar’s murder trial that the now 46 year-old man appeared anxious during a conversation at approximately 7:30 p.m. on January 11th, 2011.
Sgt. Ryan Russell was run down by a stolen snowplow shortly after 6 a.m. January 12th, 2011 on Avenue Rd. near Davenport Rd. There is no dispute that Kachkar was driving the plow and court has heard that his state of mind at the time will be the central issue in his murder trial.
Kachkar has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and dangerous driving.
Gayle told the jury that when asked why Kachkar wanted to call the RCMP Kachkar couldn’t come up with an answer immediately and also could not after walking away to think about it for several minutes.
The police were not called.
During cross-examination Gayle said he thought Kachkar “definitely had problems,” and noticed he had a “distant look.”
Asked what he thought about the look, Gayle told the jury it meant to him at the time that “this man probably should be on some kind of medication and he’s currently not.”
Gayle passed Kachkar off to Logan Bodera, another employee at the shelter.
According to Bodera’s testimony Kachkar was “feeling distressed” and was worried about taking a shelter bed away from someone else.
Court heard Kachkar “seemed nervous and kind of sad” as he told Bodera about his two children. Bodera said Kachkar told him he had a job in construction, but later said he actually didn’t have a job.
Bodera, who initially did not notice any sort of mental health issues said after the 10-15 minute conversation he had with Kachkar he “flagged him in my mind and someone who needed psychiatric or mental health support.”
Defence lawyer Bob Richardson asked Bodera: “It was very clear to you that he had mental health issues?”
Bodera, who has a master’s degree in psychology, responded: “Yes.”
Video from the shelter shows Kachkar leaving the building in a rush, wearing no shoes or socks and running through the snow.