Manchester officer testifies he could clearly see the face of shooter
MANCHESTER - Manchester Police Officer Daniel Doherty Wednesday told jurors that he saw Myles Webster's face clearly as Webster fired 14 bullets at him from a distance of three to five feet March 21 at Wayne and Rimmon streets.
With uniformed police officers filling nearly two-thirds of the gallery, Doherty testified in the attempted murder, reckless conduct, robbery and resisting arrest trial of Webster, 23, in Hillsborough County Superior Court North.
During his testimony, Doherty repeatedly used Myles Webster's name as he described the foot chase through the neighborhood. As he came close enough to tackle his quarry, Doherty said Webster wheeled around. Doherty heard the sound of a gun being racked, a bullet being loaded in the chamber.
"It's a very distinctive sound," he said.
Doherty said he tried to stop, but his feet slipped and he began to fall.
At that moment, he said: "I feel a round hit me in my left shin." Doherty said he felt more hits as Webster emptied his gun, shattering bones and causing wounds that required seven surgeries, with more to come.
Somehow, Doherty said, he was able to pull his own gun and return fire, but Webster's bullets also damaged Doherty's gun.
Doherty said he was able to communicate with headquarters even though he was flat on his back with his microphone under his body. Suffering excruciating pain in his left leg and abdomen from five bullets. he said: "I yelled very loudly that shots had been fired" and then shouted "Rimmon."
The defense contends that Webster is a victim of mistaken identity.
Defense attorney Caroline Smith asked Doherty if his vision could have been affected by sun glare and his sunglasses, but Doherty said: "It didn't prevent me from seeing ... I saw Webster on the corner."
Smith repeatedly questioned Doherty about exactly where he and the man she called "the subject" were positioned at the corner. With a gun pointed at him, Doherty said: "I was trying to stop ... trying to take cover (behind cars)."
As she continued to press the distance and position question, Doherty said he couldn't recall some details.
"I was fighting for my life," he said.
When Smith pressed Doherty about which hand "the subject" used in holding his gun when he returned fire, Doherty said: "He never returned fire. He initiated fire."
Doherty said Webster came closer as he fired, So close Doherty could see the muzzle blast.
"I thought I was being shot in the face," he said.
Smith also questioned Doherty about the description he gave of his assailant when interviewed in the emergency room at Catholic Medical Center. She said he told an officer that the shooter was Hispanic, with bushy hair, and heavy-set. Doherty said he recalls the Hispanic and hair descriptions, but doesn't remember the rest. "I could get words out, but it was hard," he said.
Smith asked Doherty, as she asks every witness, whether he had been shown a photo array and asked to identify the shooter. Like the other witnesses, Doherty's answer was "no."
The woman from whom Webster is accused of demanding car keys and her car, allegedly saying: "I need to get out of here," was among the afternoon witnesses.
Pamela Burke, who lives at 317 Rimmon St., said she refused to give Webster her car even though he had a gun because it's her only car. Her son, Omo-Morin Sunmonu, testified he had been playing a video game, "Call of Duty," when he heard shots. At first, he thought they were part of the video war game. But his friend said the shots were outside, and Sunmonu went to investigate.
When Sunmonu saw his mother talking to the man he identified in court as Webster, he said he could tell the gun was empty so he told her to go inside and told Webster to leave. How did he know the gun was empty?
From video games, he said.
When Smith questioned him about his description of Webster's clothing in his police interview the night of the shooting, Sunmonu said: "I was more focused on the gun and the face."
Officer Justin Breton testified that when he first spotted Webster, he was clutching his waistband. Breton said Sgt. Joseph Mucci arrived in the Dubuque East Back alley at about the same time. Breton called to Webster: "Stop, police, show us your hands. Get down on the ground." He said Webster rolled his eyes and took off running again.
Mucci later testified that he ran down to Putnam Street to head off Webster. Webster was caught in the fenced-in back yard at 145 Putnam St. Mucci said that Webster stepped backward off the diving board, landing on the pool cover. saying: "I didn't do it. I didn't do it."
Mucci said the handgun was found by the fence in the Putnam Street back yard, by the shed and fence Webster had attempted to climb to escape.
The trial resumes this morning.
- - - - - - - -
Dale Vincent may be reached at email@example.com.