The man charged with killing a Massachusetts police officer took the stand Monday in his murder trial as his defense team began presenting its case.
Thomas Latanowich, of Somerville, faces a murder charge in Barnstable Superior Court in the shooting death of Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon.
Gannon, 32, the department’s K-9 officer, was killed in April 2018 while he and other officers were serving an arrest warrant for a possible probation violation at a Barnstable home.
Latanowich testified Monday that he never intended to shoot a police officer. He said he'd recently had a run-in with someone he thought was trying to kill him and thought that's who was at the house on the day Gannon was shot.
"I was under the impression it was the people who shot at me that night and I figured if anything, this wasn't gonna end well," he said. "Either I was gonna get killed or be forced to defend myself."
Latanowich said he was hiding in the attic of the home when he heard what he thought were gunshots in front of him, so he pointed his gun and shot it one time.
"More or less like a warning shot, I don't know, honestly," he said.
Latanowich said he later fired a second shot as well.
The prosecution finished presenting its case on Thursday, showing jurors images of Gannon’s injuries, the Cape Cod Times reported.
Judge Jeffrey Locke told jurors to come back Monday when the defense would present its case. Locke said he expected the defense to rest its case Monday, followed by closing arguments and the start of jury deliberations on Tuesday.
Latanowich’s attorney in opening statements said his client did not know Gannon was a police officer when he shot him, saying he feared it was someone else with whom he had a dispute.
Gannon’s dog, Nero, was also shot, but survived.