Police dog Grinder was back on patrol soon after a fleeing suspect is alleged to have attempted to drown him in the Vedder River in summer 2018. (RCMP)

Police dog Grinder was back on patrol soon after a fleeing suspect is alleged to have attempted to drown him in the Vedder River in summer 2018. (RCMP)

One of two Chilliwack men on trial for crime spree accused of attempting to drown police dog

Court hears how Jonathan Olson allegedly pushed Grinder’s head under water after fleeing police

A three-week trial began this week for two men allegedly involved in a violent crime spree involving kidnapping, discharging of a firearm, all culminating in an alleged attempted drowning of an RCMP police dog.

Jonathon David Olson and another man, Brodie Tyrel Robinson, each face numerous charges connected to the incident one year ago.

Both are charged with assault with a weapon, kidnapping, using imitation firearm to commit an indictable offence, intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless and two other firearm charges.

Olson is also charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000 and wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer.

He originally faced the rare charge of attempting to kill or maim a law enforcement animal, but that is no longer on the file.

• READ MORE: Violent crime spree ends in Chilliwack arrest

On June 27, a member of the Lower Mainland Integrated Dog Service (PDS) was on the witness stand on day four of the trial that is expected to last at least three weeks.

The officer explained what led up to the alleged attempted drowning of Grinder the police dog. Grinder was tracking a suspect in dense brush on the east side of the Vedder Canal on July 1, 2018.

The officer said Grinder was tracking parallel to the canal, when suddenly he indicated the suspect was going towards the water. Police dog handlers have a long lead, so even while Grinder had jumped in to the canal, his handler’s view was still blocked by the bushes.

When he did see the dog, it was swimming towards the suspect who was paddling backwards facing the shore.

“I believe Grinder made contact in that he tried to bite him,” the officer said. “Then I saw the hand of the suspect go over top of Grinder and then he disappeared into the water. I screamed at Grinder to come back. I screamed stop. At that point I jumped into the water as I was concerned … that Grinder was going to drown.”

The water right at the shore line is deep, so the officer went right under, when he came back up Grinder was swimming back to shore. Olson was later tracked down and arrested.

The incident with the dog was the culmination of an ongoing series of alleged crimes involving Olson and Robinson.

First up on the witness stand on Monday was RCMP Cpl. Darryl Anderson who testified as an expert witness regarding information retrieved from several cellphones.

One of the first pieces of evidence presented in court was video footage from the Husky gas station on Lickman Road. In some of the clips, Olson, who is very distinct looking with neck and facial tattoos, is clearly visible on camera. He is allegedly with Robinson, and clothing, and sunglasses the two men wore in the video was presented in court as evidence as it was seized from the two after arrest.

In the video, there is also a third man, Dane Miller, who is the complainant in the kidnapping case. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the alleged incident, which triggered the police investigation.

But it was a day after the alleged shooting that RCMP responded to a report of a stolen pickup near Yale and Dyke Crest roads.

That was where a 26-year-old woman was taken into custody, and the 38-year-old Olson allegedly ran away, eventually tracked by Grinder. The woman was later released from custody.

Loaded firearms and ammunition were seized by officers during their search of the pickup truck, and Olson was linked to the Lickman Road shooting.

Both Robinson and Olson wore prison-issue red clothing in the prisoner’s box this week during the trial. The two exchanged words frequently, and often wrote notes to be handed to their lawyers, David Ferguson and Tony Lagemaat.

Olson is well-known to police, once convicted of a home invasion involving a firearm at a wrong address.

• READ MORE: Botched Chilliwack home invasion changed lives – August 2016

He and fellow accused Trevor Egilson were acquitted of torturing and beating up a cocaine-addicted man in September 2014 after the victim proved too unreliable on the stand.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack judge finds witness testimony in torture case leads to reasonable doubt

The trial that began this week is expected to last at least two more weeks.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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