The survivor of a triple-shooting in Princeton testified he thought he was simply breaking up an argument between friends.
“I turned to go to the bathroom and the next thing I know my ears are ringing,” Bradley Martin said. “I realized half my body had gone numb. I looked down at my chest and there was blood.”
Martin paused and closed his eyes for a moment before continuing.
“I seen John Ike Koopmans sitting in the office desk with a gun glaring at me,” Martin said. “It was all flight, there was no fight. I was trying not to get a second bullet in me.”
Martin, a key witness in the trial of Koopmans, 51, took the stand Wednesday at the Penticton courthouse. He survived the shooting alleged to have taken place at a property on Old Hedley Road on March 30, 2013. Robert Keith Wharton, 43, and Rosemary Fox, 32, were also shot and killed.
Koopmans is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Martin, who was living at the residence where the shooting occurred, said Koopmans arrived on the property and greeted Rosemary Fox with a hug at the door.
Martin said he had “thought they had made amends” for an alleged break and enter on Koopmans’ property. The jury heard Koopmans had blamed Wharton (who went by the name Keith) for the alleged break and enter and it had been discussed “many times” in front of him.
“He thought Keith had something to do with it,” Martin said. “(Keith) reiterated over and over he had nothing to do with it.”
Martin added that the pair often had debates about “friendship, dishonour and the break in.”
Martin recalled the events of that night when Fox and Wharton entered the master bedroom. He had been watching TV when he heard a conversation escalate to an argument.
Martin said he “considered them all friends” and went to the bedroom to intervene and break up the argument, which he said was once again about the break and enter.
Martin said Koopmans had dirt on his face and told them he had just walked 50 miles to the property. Martin thought that was odd, and that Koopmans could have called for a ride. He said Wharton then got up to get the phone to see who was slandering him regarding the break and enter, and Martin turned to get a rag for Koopmans’ face to “break up the conversation.”
He testified that is when he was shot and fled the double-wide trailer, attempting to hide under a lean-to structure on the property.
“I was wondering if I’m going to die, wondering what the hell was going on.”
Martin said his dog started barking and that he thought it would give his cover away so he proceeded to find help on Old Hedley Road where he was able to flag down a car.
Princeton resident Lisa N. Haigh testified earlier Wednesday that she had encountered a man who was barefoot, had blood on his arm and a dog with him on her way home from church.
Haigh said the man was “frantic” and that he was saying “He’s going to shoot me, he’s coming to kill me.”
Martin has since covered up the exit and entry bullet wound scars with a tattoo to “show closure.” He showed sprawling tattoos that covered his entire back.
Martin’s history with the RCMP was explored during the trial by both the Crown and the Defence. He was arrested for possession with the purpose of trafficking in Medicine Hat five years ago and also has two counts of theft under $5,000 on his record from 1984. He had also had previous run-ins with the RCMP that he said unfairly lost him his job at the Princeton Castle Resort.
Martin said he felt “neglected” and “alone” after the shooting that he said effected him both emotionally and physically. The trial is expected to continue into the next two weeks.