Strathroy taxi driver says police put his life in jeopardy during terrorist suspect takedown
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 says 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.
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.
"I heard an officer from the street say he's still twitching and that's when I heard four or five more gun shots and everything went silent. And then the two officers looking at me said stay low come over here and I basically followed their directions."
"I was freely allowed to pull down Park Street, pull in that driveway and they let me, they let me put myself in the situation," says Duffield.
Driver died during a confrontation with RCMP in Strathroy last Wednesday after making a martyrdom video that suggested he was planning to detonate a homemade bomb in an urban centre.
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, Driver's family held a small and brief funeral Thursday at an undisclosed location in London.
It was to include Christian and Muslim elements to the service, as per Aaron Driver's wishes.