Gunfight suspect Yeamet Obong was the man captured on security cameras that showed a shootout in a busy Beltline parking lot, an officer familiar with the accused testified Tuesday.
Const. Gregory McNeil said he was asked to review CCTV footage by Det. Jennifer Doolan, of the Guns and Gangs unit, to determine if he could identify either of the participants in a Feb. 29, 2020, shooting incident.
McNeil told Crown prosecutor Heather Morris he was familiar with Obong, having observed him on two prior occasions, including once at the Calgary Courts Center just three months before the gunfight.
He said on Nov. 20, 2019, I watched Obong for about 10 minutes moving back and forth in a courthouse hallway, at one point going to a water fountain.
“It was pre-COVID, so no masks and we were pretty close,” McNeil said.
On March 2, 2020, just two days after the Beltline shooting incident, he viewed CCTV video from the scene, showing a white sedan parked in a lot on 11 Ave. and 1 St. SW
“The passenger got out and seemed to be running away and the driver got out and appeared to be shooting,” McNeil said.
“Who did you recognize?” the prosecutor asked.
“The driver as Mr. Yeamet Obong.”
Obong is accused of discharging a restricted firearm with intent to wound in connection with the incident, which occurred around 3:15 pm in the city’s populous Beltline district.
McNeil said after Doolan played the videos, he was able to take a closer look at them.
“I was able to see some features from pausing and starting… that helped solidify my belief it was Mr. Obong,” he said.
The officer said the suspect’s movement, gait and build all helped him come to the conclusion it was the accused caught on the video.
“It just clicks that you recognize ‘hey, that’s the same guy that was at the courthouse that day’, which I know to be Yeamet Obong,” McNeil said.
Under cross-examination, defense counsel Kim Ross suggested the features McNeil used to identify Obong, a large nose, big lips and high forehead, were common to many Black men.
“All you do is give us some general features that many Black males have, correct?” Ross said.
“Right,” McNeil replied.
Meanwhile, firearms expert Lauren Black testified she examined five cartridge shells found at the scene, including four that appeared to have been fired from the same weapon.
Black said markings on those shells were consistent with four manufacturers of handguns.
“Those are manufacturers that produce semi-automatic handguns that produce these types of class characteristics,” she said of the shell markings.
If convicted of discharging a restricted weapon, Obong would face a minimum five-year prison term.
His trial resumes Wednesday.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts