WARNING: this story contains images that some readers may find disturbing.
An Edmonton man accused in a drunk driving crash that killed a toddler says he was abducted, beaten and had his thumb cut off by three men posing as police officers.
Richard Suter, 64, said he was at home with his wife Thursday night when he heard pounding on the door. Outside were three men in their 20s, who Suter said were dressed like SWAT officers and appeared to be armed.
“They said, ‘You have to come with us right now. You know what this is about, we’ve been told to bring you in.’”
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Suter is on bail, awaiting trial on charges of impaired driving causing death following a May 2013 crash that killed 2-year-old Geo Mounsef.
The little boy was sitting in a restaurant patio in south Edmonton when an SUV suddenly accelerated into the building, pinning the toddler.
Asked if he thought the men targeted him because of the case, Suter said: "I can’t speak to that.”
He said he was handcuffed and taken to a pickup truck. He realized the men were not police officers when they started treating him roughly and put a bag over his head.
The bag was soon replaced with a blindfold. Suter said he was in the truck for about 20 minutes, heading south. The truck then pulled over and he was pulled out and forced to kneel in a snowbank.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get a bullet in the back of my head .. at that point, I thought I was going to get executed.”
Instead, he said the men used two sets of tools to cut off his thumb. He was beaten and left with cuts and bruises to his face.
“I don’t remember getting beaten, I probably passed out,” he said. “Next thing I know, I woke up on the side of the road.”
The men were gone by the time he regained consciousness. Suter flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.
Edmonton police have confirmed they are investigating the abduction, but said they have no suspects at this time.
Suter was released from hospital Saturday afternoon. He said his wife was attacked and assaulted last year. He's worried the men may return if police don’t track them down.
“I just hope they catch these guys … whatever it was about, I hope it has satisfied whatever needs it was meant for,” he said.
“Who gets a thumb cut off these days?”
Sage Morin, the mother of Geo Mounsef, condemned the attack Saturday. She said her son’s memory should not be associated with violence.
"Justice for Geo will not come in the form of violence. Our family remains hopeful and entrusting of the legal system to bring Justice for Geo,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“We have tried our very best to use Geo's memory as an inspiration to do positive things for our community, to lend love, compassion and understanding to our fellow mankind, and to try make this world a better place, one small act of kindness at a time.”
Suter’s trial on the impaired driving charges is set to begin in October.