Sisters feared knife-wielding Sammy Yatim aboard streetcar, court hears

Two sisters testified they were nearly stabbed by Sammy Yatim shortly before the 18-year-old was fatally shot on a Toronto streetcar by a Toronto police officer in the summer of 2013.

Jury to break for holidays after today’s testimony, with final arguments coming in January

Two sisters testified they were nearly stabbed by Sammy Yatim aboard a TTC streetcar. Later, the 18-year-old was shot dead while he was alone on the streetcar. (TTC security video)

Latest

  • James Forcillo's defence has now wrapped.
  • Closing arguments expected to begin on Jan. 5, 2016

Two sisters testified they were nearly stabbed by Sammy Yatim shortly before the 18-year-old was fatally shot on a Toronto streetcar by a Toronto police officer in the summer of 2013.

Christie McGregor testified Tuesday that she watched Yatim swing his knife at her sister, Bridgette, and said she thought he'd "got her." She said she panicked and ran to the front of the streetcar, where other passengers were also trying to escape.

Bridgette McGregor testified that she remembered Yatim saying, "you're not going anywhere," and that he came at her with his knife. She used her purse as a shield and remembered the knife making contact with the purse, she told the judge and jury at Ontario Superior Court.

Bridgette wasn't hurt in the attack, but cried throughout her testimony as she recalled the events.

She said she remembered screaming at the streetcar driver to open the doors as she ran to the front of the vehicle along with other passengers.

"Why don't you open the doors? He's got a knife," she recalled yelling.

Const. James Forcillo, 32, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the July 25, 2013, fatal shooting of Yatim, who was alone on an empty 505 Dundas streetcar with a knife in his hand when he was shot eight times.

The driver of the 505 Dundas streetcar had fled the vehicle, as had other passengers after Yatim exposed himself and waved the knife around.

Forcillo and other police officers then arrived at the scene shortly after the streetcar driver and other passengers fled the vehicle. The jury has already heard that shortly after Forcillo arriving on scene, the officer ordered Yatim to drop the knife and then opened fire.

Forcillo's defence team said the officer was following training and acting in self-defence, because he feared Yatim was about to lunge from the streetcar.

The prosecution is arguing that Forcillo used excessive force in dealing with the teenager.

The sisters were the final witnesses called by the defence.

After Tuesday's hearing, Forcillo's trial is set to break for the holidays.

Closing arguments will begin on Jan. 5, 2016.