A date has been set to hear the plea of a man involved in an incident in St. John’s in February that ended with an RNC officer firing a shot at a fleeing SUV, a vehicle being torched and a suspect being surrounded and taken into custody.
Justin Chipman appeared via video-link Friday. Chipman was picked up by police on the night of Feb. 18. Earlier that night, plainclothes police officers were staking out the parking lot near the MUN Field House. They were undercover to catch somebody they suspected of breaking into vehicles.
When they approached the suspect, he allegedly jumped into a car to escape. Some actions by the suspect behind the wheel made an officer feel threatened, and the officer fired a shot. Nobody was hit by the bullet.
The officer was slightly injured by the vehicle the suspect was driving as he sped away, but didn’t need medical treatment.
Following the incident, then-RNC chief Robert Johnston said there was reason to believe the bullet had hit the car.
A short time after the shooting, the SUV driven by the suspect was found on fire on Keane Place. Just after 11 p.m., it was confirmed the suspect was in custody after police surrounded a house on Rotary Drive.
Chipman is facing more than 10 charges, including assaulting a police officer and assault with a weapon. The 26-year-old was previously denied bail. His next court appearance is set for April 3, when he will enter a plea to the charges.
Johnston requested the RCMP investigate the matter of the RNC officer firing the weapon. That’s one of two investigations the RCMP is conducting into the RNC at the RNC’s request. On Friday, new RNC Chief Bill Janes confirmed the RCMP will conduct an investigation into an accusation of assault made against an RNC officer.