Posted: 12/15/2005 2:04:38 PM EDT
Shooter was under a court ban from owning firearms.
Man accused of shooting officer was under firearms ban
Last Updated Thu, 15 Dec 2005 15:34:06 EST
A 40-year-old man with a history of disputes with police has been arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Const. Valérie Gignac in Laval, north of Montreal.
François Pepin had been charged repeatedly with issuing death threats and harassing police officers and court workers. He was under a ten-year court order barring him from possessing firearms, the CBC's Amanda Pfeffer reports from Laval.
Despite the ban, which dated from 1999, he had asked for, and was granted, permission to use a gun for hunting during the fall season.
* FROM DEC. 14, 2005: Suspect surrenders after Quebec police officer slain
He had been charged in recent weeks with stalking another woman officer on the Laval force, and had been arrested in connection with that charge by Const. Gignac and her partner, the city's police chief said.
Along with the murder charge, Pepin was arraigned Thursday on charges relating to the firearms ban and possession of a high-powered rifle.
He didn't enter a plea and his lawyer didn't seek bail. He is being held in jail and will be back in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 15.
Shot through an apartment door
Police union officials told reporters it was "highly disturbing" that a man forbidden to possess firearms would be permitted to have one under any circumstances.
Const. Gignac, 25, was shot through an apartment door shortly after she and her partner reached the scene of a noisy quarrel in the northern district of Laval des Rapides on Wednesday morning.
"The type of gun you would use to shoot elephants"
She wore a flak vest but the bullets apparently passed through or below it. Such vests may stop a pistol bullet but offer limited protection against more powerful rifle rounds.
Laval police chief Jean-Pierre Gariepy said the two officers knew Pepin was dangerous because they had arrested him about a week earlier in connection with the stalking charge.
No chance against a .338 rifle bullet
He said two shots were fired as they flanked the door and one struck Const. Gignac.
She had no chance, he said, against a .338-calibre bullet from a rifle he described as "the type of gun you would use to shoot elephants."
Const. Valérie Gignac
He said she was facing away from the door when the bullet hit her in the lower back and passed through her stomach.
She was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died. She had been on the force for four years.
Pepin surrendered after a seven-hour standoff with heavily armed police backed by an armoured personnel carrier.
Montreal's La Presse reported Thursday that Pepin had been convicted this month of harassing a woman police officer and fined $500.
"He was kind of in love with her, you know," the police chief told a news conference. "He was always trying to get in touch with her in many ways."
He would often drop by the station near his home and had a known penchant for female officers, the Globe and Mail reported.
"I'm told he had fantasies about women police officers, " Const. Guy Lajeunesse told the Globe. "He'd go by the police station and say, `I love women police officers. I find them beautiful.'"
The Judge needs to be charged with manslaughter at minimum.
Hindsight is 20/20.
Sorry for the Cop.
.338, the new .50BMG? I like how it mentioned elephants twice, excellent journalism.
"These guns are only suitable for hunting elephants! They are even more powerful than assault weapons! WE MUST BAN HIGH POWERED COP KILLING ELEPHANT GUNS!!! AAAAAIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!