Surviving victim of Ottawa triple shooting feared identifying shooter, jury told
Talal Al-Shammari was the only survivor as his brother and a friend were killed
Talal Al-Shammari had just woken up from a medically induced coma to find he had been shot.
Armed police officers stood guard at the door of his room in an intensive care unit at The Ottawa Hospital, and homicide detectives Sgt. Chris O'Brien and Det. Guy Seguin were about to enter his room to question him for the first time after a July 2017 triple shooting.
"You know you were shot?" O'Brien asked him. Talal had been intubated and his raspy and tired voice told detectives he couldn't remember anything — not where he was the night before, nor who he was with.
"Your brother Abdulrahman was with you as well," O'Brien said. "I hate to have to tell you this, but Abdulrahman died."
Dead, too, was their childhood friend Dirie Olol, who lived just a few doors down from the Al-Shammaris in Kanata.
"You're the only person in this world that can help us solve this crime," O'Brien told him.
"I need to know who did this."
Accused pleaded not guilty
Alam Buoc played an audio recording of that first police interview in his murder trial Tuesday.
Buoc has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is defending himself at trial, which means he is questioning the only person who identified him as the gunman.
The jury heard this week Talal and his brother Abdulrahman met up with their friend Olol, and then had a few pitchers of beer at a Kanata bar in the summer of 2017. Before the night was over, Buoc joined them, Talal testified.
The four men would eventually make their way to Buoc's nearly furniture-less apartment, where he was stowing a handgun inside a kitchen drawer, the jury heard.
When Buoc pulled out the handgun from the drawer and a shotgun from his bedroom to show his friends, Olol and Talal posed for pictures Abdulrahman snapped on his phone.
"I thought it was cool," Talal told the jury.
Buoc's mood turned angry when he began accusing Talal of stealing a bullet from him.
"Alam checked my pockets," Talal testified. "He didn't find anything."
The men decided to leave but Buoc approached from behind to go with them. What Talal didn't know at the time was that he brought the handgun with him, Talal told the jury.
"We're driving ahead and he still was accusing me of stealing his bullet."
Abdulrahman stopped his white Mazda to give Buoc the chance to search Talal. Again, he found nothing.
'He takes his gun out ... and shoots me'
Once back inside the car, Talal told the jury he saw Buoc take the gun out of his jacket pocket and heard him say, "This is why I came."
"He takes his gun out, puts the clip in and shoots me."
Talal fainted, then woke up before wrestling with his attacker to get out of the car.
"I woke up and I just jumped on him trying to get the gun away from me."
He was shot in his left shoulder and neck and ran for his life. Buoc tried to shoot him in the forehead, too, he said, but he raised his hand up and blocked it, taking a bullet in between his ring and pinky fingers, instead.
As Talal ran to the bushes, he saw Olol in the passenger seat of his brother's car. He wasn't moving. The trial has heard Olol was shot in the back of the head and died instantly. Abdulrahman was shot in the neck and stumbled to a nearby driveway where he fatally collapsed.
Injured Talal eventually flagged down a passerby and asked him to take him to the hospital.
He woke up in a second hospital, surrounded by his family.
"I was scared to tell them who did it," Talal told the jury.
"Something might happen to me or my family."
In another police interview at hospital, Talal eventually identified Buoc as the shooter.
"I was just trying to do the right thing," he said while testifying from a closed-circuit television from another room inside the courthouse.
Prosecutor James Cavanagh asked Talal in what ways his life has changed since the shooting.
"My brother's not here with me anymore."
Buoc spent Tuesday cross-examining the witness, who addressed his brother's alleged killer as "Sir."
Buoc questioned Talal on his mental health history, which includes a diagnosis of schizophrenia and medication he continues to take, and whether it was police or prosecutor coercion that prompted him to change his story.
"No," Talal said.
The trial continues.