NEWS
03/01/2012 12:16 EST | Updated 05/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Ottawa Murder Trial Hears Of Slain Officer's Final Moments

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Hospital staff and paramedics recounted the final moments of Ottawa police officer Eric Czapnik's life as the trial of the former Mountie accused of killing him continued Thursday.

Kevin Gregson is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Czapnik, who was stabbed outside the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital in the early morning of Dec. 29, 2009.

Dr. Guy Hebert, the chief of emergency medicine, testified he heard a panicked call from a staff member asking him to come to the resuscitation room. He knew immediately something was wrong.

When he arrived, he saw Czapnik with two deep cuts on the side of his neck.

"We were losing blood faster than we could replace it," Hebert told 12 jurors in an Ottawa courtroom.

Doctors took Czapnik to the trauma room, where they cut his chest open and cross-clamped his aorta to try to redirect his remaining blood to his head and vital organs.

Hospital tried desperate measures

"These were desperate measures," Hebert said.

Czapnik's blood was replenished at least twice as doctors continued to try to save his life. He was pronounced dead at 5:26 a.m.

Hebert said he also treated Gregson, who was handcuffed on a gurney and surrounded by police. Hebert described the former member of the RCMP in Saskatchewan as "quiet" and "dejected."

Earlier Thursday, the court heard from paramedics Virginia Warner and Amanda Walkowiak, who helped restrain Gregson in the hospital parking lot after they saw him in a struggle with Czapnik.

Warner testified she went into the hospital ER to get help after she saw what she described as "a lot" of blood coming out of Czapnik's neck.

Gregson came to Ottawa 'looking for a fight'

Two paramedics said Wednesday that after they had handcuffed Gregson, he said to them: "I just needed a gun. If he'd just given me the gun."

Const. Gregory Thompson took the witness box Thursday afternoon to describe Gregson's actions while in police custody. Const. Carl DeJong and Const. Jean-François Martin also testified.

Thompson told the court Gregson had a handcuff key on him, which could unlock all handcuffs. He then shared Gregson's explanation.

"I came looking for a fight," Gregson was quoted as saying in the cellblock. "You city cops are tough."

Gregson then met with an Ottawa lawyer and requested a heater and plasma television, Thompson told the court. He eventually looked at the floor and told Thompson, "I'm sorry," the court heard.

The former Mountie was also interested in the news coverage of the slaying, DeJong and Thompson said. He asked officers if the stabbing was reported in the newspaper or on television.

Gregson has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Czapnik, 51, a father of four who joined the Ottawa police two years earlier as the oldest recruit in the force's history.

Gregson also pleaded not guilty to robbery in relation to a carjacking the night before the stabbing.

The defence is expected to lay out its case after the Crown finishes presenting its evidence. RCMP officers are expected to testify on Gregson's background in the force Friday.