STRATHROY, Ont. — A taxi driver who was in the car when a terrorist sympathizer was gunned down by officers in southwestern Ontario has slammed police, saying they needlessly put his life in jeopardy.
Terry Duffield has told The London Free Press that police didn't warn him as he waited in the driveway for five minutes for Aaron Driver before the 24-year-old got into the back of his cab.
Police gather evidence outside of a house in Strathroy, Ont., on Aug. 11, 2016. (Photo: Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)
He says police swarmed them only after he began reversing the car out of the driveway, which is when he says Driver set off an explosive device.
Duffield says a pack of cigarettes saved his life because he reached over for them just as the explosion went off and bullets started flying — saying the seat protected him, not police.
Driver died during a confrontation with RCMP in Strathroy, Ont., last Wednesday after making a martyrdom video that suggested he was planning to detonate a homemade bomb in an urban centre.
Police maintain a watch outside of a house in Strathroy, Ont. on Aug. 11, 2016. (Photo: Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)
Driver had been under a court order not to associate with any terrorist organizations or to use a computer or cellphone, but he wasn't under continuous surveillance despite concern he might participate or contribute to the activity of a terrorist group.
"As I'm laying on the ground, I hear an officer say, loud, 'He's still twitching.' Then I hear pop, pop, pop, pop, like four or five shots, and then it was complete silence,'' Duffield, 47, told the London Free Press.
Ontario Provincial Police, who took over the investigation into his death, said Tuesday that Driver died from a gunshot wound, but gave no other details.
Driver moved to Strathroy earlier this year to live with his sister.
Aaron Driver in Winnipeg, Feb. 2. (Photo: John Woods/Canadian Press)
Canadian authorities were tipped off about his activities by the FBI and confronted him hours later.
Driver's father has said his son was a troubled child but appeared to have turned his life around after converting to Islam. But then the father said CSIS contacted him in January 2015 about disturbing posts his son had made on social media.
Duffield told The London Free Press he has post-traumatic stress from the incident
"Why did the police put my life jeopardy? They did absolutely nothing to help me at any time,'' Duffield told the newspaper. "They did absolutely nothing at any time to prevent me from getting in that situation.''