Warning: This story contains details that may disturb some readers. Discretion is advised.
The trial of a man accused of shooting a pregnant woman in the stomach in East Vancouver last year heard from a key witness who called 911 immediately after the attack.
Carleton Stevens has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and possession of a prohibited firearm in the attack, which caused the 26-week pregnant victim to lose her baby.
The shooting happened in the early morning hours of May 18, 2018 at a print shop on Industrial Avenue near Main and Prior streets.
The prosecution’s case hinges on proving the identity of the shooter.
On Wednesday, Dollie Middleton took the stand and identified Stevens as being at the scene with a gun, becoming the latest witness to do so after print shop owner Jeff Grayston on Monday.
Middleton and Stevens glared at one another across the courtroom before her testimony began, continuing to exchange looks as she recounted the day of the shooting.
Middleton told the court she had been working at the print shop in the hours leading up to the shooting, and had gotten some food to bring up to the loft above the shop that she slept in.
That’s when she heard a noise, which she thought was coming from a piece of equipment she left on.
Once downstairs, Middleton testified she saw a man, who wasn’t Stevens, drop a knife and run past her out the building. After following the man outside, she went back into the shop and saw the victim.
“She had been shot. She had a hole in her belly,” Middleton said.
When asked who else was in the building, Middleton pointed toward Stevens, who she said was in a loft above her.
Stevens confronted Middleton after coming down the stairs, she testified, and she punched him in the face. He punched back, she said, hitting her in the shoulder.
Middleton told the court Stevens then stepped back, pulled out a gun and fired a shot near her feet before fleeing.
The court also heard audio of the 911 call Middleton placed.
“A pregnant woman has been shot,” she’s heard telling the dispatcher frantically. “There’s a hold in her f—ing stomach … please hurry!”
Middleton spoke to Global News shortly after the shooting and recounted the same story she told the court, including finding the victim and the fight she had with the suspect.
At the time of the interview, no arrests had been made, prompting Middleton to call the shooter a “coward” while expressing anguish for the victim, known only as JY due to a publication ban.
“Being a mom, I can’t imagine what she’s going to go through when she wakes up,” she told Global News.
Last week, JY testified that she’d seen Stevens standing over her, assembling the gun before she was shot.
She went on to tell the court that Stevens, an ex-boyfriend, had accused her of being unfaithful. She said he wanted her to get an abortion, and that he had threatened to shoot her on more than one occasion.
The court has previously heard that the bullet she was shot with had severed the baby’s umbilical cord.
A garbage truck operator testified Monday that he found the weapon, a 70-centimetre .22-caliber makeshift gun, under a dumpster along with a mask near the crime scene, four days after the shooting.
Stevens’ defence has suggested that someone else pulled the trigger, and that Stevens had stayed at the scene to try and make sure JY was OK.
—With files from Simon Little