Metro Vancouver Transit Police are stunned that Daon Gordon Glasgow, 37, has been found not guilty of attempted murder in the Jan. 30, 2019 shooting of one of their own, Constable Josh Harms, at Scott Road SkyTrain Station.
Glasgow, who was the subject of a massive police manhunt, has been found guilty of aggravated assault.
“It is very difficult to imagine how someone can point a gun at a police officer, or anyone for that matter, pull the trigger – in this case actually shoot the police officer two times – and not be found guilty, convicted of attempted murder,” Sergeant Clint Hampton, a spokesman for the Transit Police, told the Now-Leader. “I think we all need to be a little riled up by this, not just those members in our department.”
Glasgow had been on mandatory release from prison on a Surrey manslaughter conviction at the time the trigger was pulled in the SkyTrain station shooting.
Harms, 27, was shot twice – once in his right arm, and once in his left hand – with a 9mm handgun. A surgeon removed the bullet from his arm. His hand sustained significant but not catastrophic damage and he eventually returned to duty.
Shortly after the shooting, the constable said he had “so many reasons to be grateful,” adding, “I thank God my injuries were not worse.”
Surrey provincial court Judge Peder Gulbransen also found Glasgow guilty of discharging a restricted firearm with the intention of endangering the life of Constable Harms, intentionally discharging a firearm while being reckless as to the life or safety of others, and possessing a loaded restricted firearm without being the holder of a license to possess that firearm. He will be back in court on Dec. 15.
Man who shot @TransitPolice, Cst. Harms, convicted of Aggravated Assault. While we are waiting to review the judge’s decision, It's hard to imagine how someone can point a gun at any person, fire the gun hitting the officer twice, and not be found guilty of attempted murder.
— Sgt. Clint Hampton (@SgtCHampton) October 19, 2020
Hampton said Harms won’t be making a statement.
“He’s not pleased with the outcome,” Hampton told the Now-Leader, “but what I would say with Constable Harms, he’s remained positive through this whole process and that’s how he wants to stay. Really, when I spoke with him about this he just said he wants to focus on the future.”
The court heard two Transit police officers pursued Glasgow as he ran from a parking lot into the station. Suspecting he was trying to avoid them, they wanted to find out why.
The judge noted Harms and Constable Chris Elvidge had been assigned to plainclothes duty and it was their job to investigate “suspicious” people at SkyTrain stations.
“Although they were wearing plainclothes, they were easily identifiable as police officers,” Gulbransen said. “They were wearing protective vests, carrying firearms, and had their badges displayed on their belts.”
Glasgow was looking directly at Harms, Gulbransen said, and held his gaze on the officer. “They both concluded that the accused had identified them as police officers. They then noticed that the accused was walking away from them, and continually looking back at them over his shoulder. He then started to run towards the station.
“Neither officer had seen the accused do anything illegal and did not know who he was. Nonetheless, it seemed obvious that he wanted to avoid them because they were police officers. They followed him to find out why he was so desperate to avoid them.”
In April 2011 Glasgow, who had originally been charged with second-degree murder, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter for shooting Terry Blake Scott in the chest inside the men’s washroom of the McDonald’s restaurant at 11011 Scott Road, during dinner hour when families were present. In April 2015 the court of appeal reduced his nine-year sentence.
Glasgow told the court that he believed he was unlawfully at large because although his terms of parole required him to stay at a halfway house he left it without permission to move in with his girlfriend in Surrey. On Jan. 30, 2019 he left her house to buy some marijuana and said he was carrying the loaded gun for protection because he’d been warned that several men he served time with in Kent penitentiary were being killed. He told the court the reason they were being killed was that they had associated with certain prisoners there.
When Glasgow saw the police officers, Gulbransen noted, he knew that if he talked with them they’d discover he was unlawfully at large and was carrying a loaded gun. “This would mean and immediate return to prison. He panicked.”
The officers found Glasgow seated among commuters awaiting an eastbound train. He told the court he’d thought he’d given them the shake and was shocked to see Harms suddenly waking towards him.
He pulled his gun from his waistband and shot at the cop.
“He said that he had no intention of killing the officer,” Gulbransen said. “He said that it was as if he was on ‘automatic pilot.’”
“Despite the injuries to his hand and arm, Constable Harms was able to get his firearm out,” the judge said. “He leaned over the small barrier or wall, to which he had retreated, and fired several shots at the retreating Glasgow, who by then was at the bottom. He missed.”
Glasgow ran from the station and was arrested five days later, in Burnaby.
He denied in court that he intended to kill the constable. The Crown had argued that the “only reasonable inference to be drawn from the circumstances” is that Glasgow intended to kill him.
“The accused says that he panicked when he saw the police officers,” Gulbransen noted in his reasons for judgment. “His only thought was to get out of their presence. Once he had reached the SkyTrain platform, he believed that he had successfully evaded them, and would get further away from them by boarding the next eastbound train. He was shocked at the officer’s sudden appearance. He said that he fired the shots without thinking of anything other than escaping from the officer.”
The judge noted the Crown’s case concerning Glasgow’s alleged intention to kill Harms was based on circumstantial evidence.
“The Crown always bears the burden of proof in a criminal case,” Gulbransen said. “The burden of proving a charge of attempted murder is particularly onerous. In the case at bar, the crucial time in which the intent to kill, as alleged by the Crown, would have to arise within one or perhaps two seconds. The shots never struck the officer in a vital part of his body. There was no background of animosity between the officers and Glasgow.”
Gulbransen decided the Crown failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Glasgow had intended to kill Harms.
Meantime, Hampton said the Transit Police have requested court transcripts to review the decision and “try to make some sense of it.”