Doctor tells court he was afraid shooting victim might lose leg

It became clear at Supreme Court in St. John's Wednesday that even a small calibre bullet can do significant damage to the human body.

Surgeon David Pace says bullets also damaged kidney, liver and bowel

General surgeon, Dr. David Pace, said the shooting victim had a third of his right kidney "demolished." (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

It became clear at Supreme Court in St. John's Wednesday that even a small-calibre bullet can do significant damage to the human body.

Jason Marsh, 38, and Christopher Shaw, 34, are charged with the attempted murder of Charles Lacosta in St. John's on November 11, 2013.

Lacosta was shot in a house on Williams Heights near Bowring Park.

The undershirt Charles Lacosta was wearing when he was shot three times in Nov. 2013. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

David Pace, a general surgeon, operated on Lacosta when he was brought to the Health Sciences Centre that night.

Pace said Lacosta's blood pressure was very low when he was brought in and he had to be given two litres of blood.

"The lower third of his right kidney was demolished," said Pace.

Pace also told the court that Lacosta had a slice in his liver, two holes in his small bowel, and that part of his large bowel had to be removed.

Jason Marsh, left, and Christopher Shaw are on trial for the attempted murder of Charles Lacosta in one shooting, and aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in a separate shooting. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

The police have testified that Lacosta with shot with .22 calibre bullets.

Pace said one was removed from Lacosta's right thigh, and another from his right side near his ribs.

Outside of court the doctor told CBC News he believes that Lacosta was shot three times, with one bullet going right through him.

Two bullets were found in the house where he was shot.

House in Williams Heights in St. John's where Charles Lacosta was shot. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

In court, Pace said health care staff were concerned that Lacosta could lose his right leg. He said blood had collected in the thigh causing swelling and pressure, and they were afraid blood wasn't getting to his right foot.

Pace said that in order to relieve the pressure, he opened a long slice in the outside of the thigh. He said a skin graft would be done about a month later to cover it.

Lacosta was in the hospital from November 11 until December 3 and for another nine days later that month for follow up.

He returned to hospital in February 2014 for more bowel surgery.

Lacosta is expected to be a witness at the trial. 

About the Author

Glenn Payette


A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.