Eli Epiha trial: Shot constable David Goldfinch recalls moment he ran from bullets
On the morning that Constable David Goldfinch was shot four times with a military-style assault rifle, he initially jumped out of his car with the intent to give first aid to a driver who had just crashed while fleeing him and partner Matthew Hunt.
Instead, he told jurors at the attempted murder trial of Eli Epiha, he found the driver pointing a weapon at him.
Epiha has already pleaded guilty to the murder of Goldfinch’s partner but has denied trying to kill Goldfinch that morning.
The last time Goldfinch saw Hunt that morning was as his partner put the patrol vehicle in park and Goldfinch jumped out to help the other driver, he told jurors.
“He was coming towards me and he was holding a firearm,” Goldfinch remembered of the other driver. “He was walking sort of very aggressively towards me. I put up my hands to show I didn’t have a gun.”
Goldfinch yelled out.
“F***ing stop, bro! Put the f***ing gun down!”
But as the gunman got closer to the patrol car, with maybe a car-length between the two men, “he just pointed the firearm at me … and he just started pulling the trigger — firing bullets at me”.
Goldfinch didn’t know how many bullets were fired but he kept hearing them behind him, he explained to the jury matter-of-factly, explaining that his training kicked in and he ran behind a nearby car.
“A firearm of that calibre, the only thing that will stop those bullets is an engine block. And so I got behind another vehicle” he explained.
“I saw him walking across the road towards me again. He just walked to the vehicle. It was kind of like a cat-and-mouse sort of thing. He was trying to come around the vehicle towards me. I was trying to keep that engine block between us.
“I think he was trying to get a clean shot.”
The two circled around the car, with the gunman at the front and Constable Goldfinch at the back, he said.
“It was kind of a surreal moment,” Goldfinch said. “We both stopped and looked at each other. I put up my hands again and went, ‘Just f***ing stop. Just f***ing walk away. I won’t arrest you.’
“I saw him almost contemplating what I said to him.
“After a few seconds, he just like made a decision: ‘I’m going to kill you.'”
That’s when the man turned the gun sideways, angled it above the roof of the car and started firing shots again, Goldfinch said.
“I ran,” he explained. “I believe at from that point the bullets just didn’t stop. I remember yelling, ‘F***ing stop, f***ing stop!’ He just kept going.”
He glanced back as he was running and realised the man with the gun was now just a couple of metres away, he told jurors.
“He had the firearm pointed straight at me,” he said.
There then was the flash of a muzzle.
“This is where I die,” he remembered thinking to himself.
“I don’t know how the bullet missed,” he told jurors, explaining that he felt an intense burning like an “acid bomb” detonating. “It was just a shower of shrapnel.
“There were just more bullets. More bullets. The ground was exploding — the grass and concrete. And I felt one in my legs.
Goldfinch ran to a nearby driveway and to the back of the house. In intense pain and bleeding heavily, he took a knee and called for backup. He told them he’d been shot and he didn’t know where his partner was.
Moments later he spotted the gunman again. He was talking to a woman near the street, he said.
“It was just a casual chat,” he said of the interaction, viewed from afar. “I saw her sort of tap her pants [and say], ‘I don’t got no keys on me, bro.'”
But at that moment, police communications came back on and it was loud enough that it got the gunman’s attention. He made like he was about to start moving towards Goldfinch again, and the officer stood up and ran.
“I’ve got to go. He’s hunting me!” he recalled telling dispatch as he jumped a fence.
“I thought I was going to get more bullets in the back, so I went as fast as I could,” he said.
Arriving at a cul-de-sac, he took a knee again, his leg feeling “out of control sore”.
That’s when two good Samaritans in a van pulled up and encouraged him to get in so they could get away from the danger, he said. But he couldn’t leave his partner behind or the neighbourhood unprotected while a gunman was loose, he decided.
“There’s a guy with a gun. You’ve got to go!” he told them.
A resident on the phone with 111 also approached.
“We don’t need that s*** in our neighbourhood,” Goldfinch recalled the man saying. “Come down to my house!”
So Goldfinch got in the van and they drove to the man’s nearby house and waited for backup to arrive.
“I’d lost a lot of blood,” he explained. “I started to lose feeling in my hands. I thought I was going to die.
“I still didn’t know where Matt was.”
Goldfinch’s testimony continues at the Auckland High Court.
Source: Read Full Article