With a smile on his face, Richard Jules Berry fired a gun that struck three Havelock police officers, according to testimony Tuesday in the trial of the Havelock man charged in the 2013 shooting.


With a smile on his face, Richard Jules Berry fired a gun that struck three Havelock police officers, according to testimony Tuesday in the trial of the Havelock man charged in the 2013 shooting.



Lt. Brian Borton, of the Havelock Police Department, testified that he and Sgt. James Fahnestock and Patrol Officer Loren Boone were simply trying to help Berry, who had indicated he had shot himself, at the time of the shooting.



Taking the stand in the first day of testimony in the trial, Borton said officers heard at least two gun shots as they waited outside Berry’s closed bedroom door, attempting to talk him into surrendering to authorities.



“I don’t want to talk. I just want to bleed out,” Borton said Berry told the officers after the second shot.



Borton said the officers then slowly pushed open the door to the bedroom.



“We decided to enter to render aid thinking he had injured himself,” Borton testified.



Borton said that he and Fahnestock had both holstered their guns as they observed Berry lying on the bed for about 15 seconds.



Berry then turned slightly and brought one of the guns up to his throat.



“As he was turning over I see a smile on his face and his guns pointed at us,” Borton testified.



Both officers lunged for Berry in an attempt to gain control of the weapons, but Berry fired several more shots, one of which grazed Borton, he testified.



Berry’s defense attorney, Michael Mills, told jurors in his opening statement Tuesday that evidence would show the shooting was an accident caused by the actions of the police officers.



Answering questions from Mills, Borton admitted that he could not state with 100 percent certainty that the superficial abrasion on his hand actually came from a bullet.



“One hundred percent sure? No, but I don’t know where else it could have come from,” Borton said.



Mills asked if Borton had made a plan with the other officers on how to handle Berry.



“No concrete plan other than to render aid to him,” Borton testified.



Mills asked Borton if he had considered calling in the city’s tactical response team, and Borton said the 30 to 45 minutes needed to assemble the team was too long to wait to save Berry if he had shot himself.



Borton testified that his intent was “to render aid to (Berry) because we really had thought that he had shot himself and it wouldn’t have taken long for him to bleed out.”



The shooting occurred on Feb. 14, 2013. Assistant District Attorney Karen Hobbs, prosecutor in the case, played a 9-1-1 phone call from a woman identifying herself as Berry’s spouse and indicating that he had fired a gun inside their Webb Boulevard home around 12:20 p.m.



Boone was the first to respond, but since Borton was on his lunch break at his home located just about a block away, he also responded to the call.



Testimony on Tuesday also came from Dr. Kristen Warner, a hand surgeon with Coastal Orthopedics in New Bern, who discussed the injury to Fahnestock, the most seriously injured of the three officers.



Warner testified that Fahnestock’s injuries to his left thumb were consistent with that of a gunshot wound. One joint of the officer’s thumb was “highly fragmented” and that small fragments of debris consistent with a gunshot were found during surgery, Warner said.



Warner stated that Fahnestock still had some limitation of movement as well as some pain in his hand.



“He has some functional loss because of the injury,” Warner testified. “He’s considered six percent impaired in the left extremity.”



Berry is charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer.



Benjamin G. Alford is the presiding judge, and the jury consists of five men and seven women.



The trial is expected to continue through the rest of the week.