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‘A fight for my life’: Court hears rare testimony from officer involved in fatal shooting

A Calgary police officer who fatally shot a man after he was attacked while working undercover became emotional in court on Tuesday as he testified at a fatality inquiry.

“I was in a fight for my life,” Const. Ray Davies told the judge.

Davies killed Yacin Osman, 27, on April 9, 2018 after Osman attacked him with a knife, not knowing his victim was an undercover officer. 

Davies’ testimony was a rare chance to hear from an officer involved in a fatal shooting. 

Davies spent an hour in the witness box answering questions from inquiry counsel Christine Nugent, Justice Indra Maharaj and CPS lawyer Annie Alport. 

A fatality inquiry is underway before Maharaj makes recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future.

Unrelated homicide investigation

On the night Osman was killed, Davies and six fellow officers from the Strike Force team — a CPS surveillance unit — were working for the homicide unit on an unrelated matter.

Davies’ team was tasked with watching all entry and exit points on a home in Bridgeland so other investigators could execute a covert search warrant.

From 10 to 11 p.m., Davies was assigned to watch the main door of the house. 

Once he was relieved by another officer, Davies testified he drove to a nearby abandoned, fenced-in school parking lot. 

Davies said he got out of the car, scanned the area and then relieved himself near the back of the vehicle. 

‘It was an attack’

He got back in his SUV and picked up his phone to text his wife. 

Suddenly, Davies said a man wrenched his driver’s door open. It was Osman, who had a knife in his hand and was shouting at the plain-clothed officer to give him money or he’d kill him. 

“It was immediately apparent to me that it was an attack,” said Davies.

A knife beside an evidence marker.
This folding knife was recovered from the scene where Yacin Osman was killed. ASIRT found that Osman was shot after he attacked an undercover police officer. (ASIRT )

The officer teared up when describing the initial moments of his encounter with Osman.

“I’ll give you all my money, let me just grab my wallet,” Davies said he told Osman. Instead, the officer reached for his service firearm. 

“As I did that, he was shouting ‘I’m going to fu–ing kill you,'” said Davies.

‘This was life or death’

Osman spotted the gun and Davies testified that after that, “the fight was on.”

“He was slashing at my face,” the officer testified. “What kept going through my mind was ‘this was life or death.'”

Davies said he didn’t want to shoot Osman so he punched him in the face “as hard as I could with the gun in my hand.”

Osman had little reaction. 

“He had my shirt and jacket in his left hand as he was swinging his right hand with the knife in it,” the officer told the judge. 

“At that point I made the decision that I felt I had to shoot him … I pulled the trigger.”

Davies ‘in shock’

Osman dropped to the ground and Davies reached into his car and radioed for backup.

A knife lay close to Osman’s body.

Const. Cameron McDonald also testified at the inquiry on Tuesday. He was one of Davis’ teammates that night and told the judge that when he arrived in the parking lot where the shooting had taken place, Davies was “in shock.”

McDonald also struggled not to cry when he testified about arriving at the scene.

He said he got his first aid kit and assessed the victim but realized Osman was dead. 

“There was nothing I could do for him,” said McDonald. 

ASIRT report

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team investigated the shooting and issued a report in 2021. 

According to that report, Osman’s girlfriend and roommates told investigators that the night he was killed he had left his house in search of drugs.

Osman also had a history of stealing to get money to pay for drugs. 

A toxicologist testified earlier on Tuesday that Osman had methamphetamine in his system when he died. 

The inquiry continues Wednesday with testimony from a use of force expert.

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