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Guilty Verdict in Cannon Trial: Officer Mike Vernon Testified

Brian Kelly Twitter:@brpkelly
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Photo: Florissant Police

Photo: Florissant Police

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CLAYTON, MO (KMOX)-Guilty is the verdict for the man charged with shooting and paralyzing officer Mike Vernon.

A St. Louis County Jury found Brian Cannon guilty of assault , armed criminal action and burglary.

He faces decades in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

Officer Vernon was responding to a burglary call on May 28th 2012 in the 2800 block of North Lindbergh when Cannon, who was hiding in a dumpster, fired shots at the officer.

At the time of the shooting Cannon had already been on probation on another burglary charge.

The trial had gone for four days.

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Facing the man he says fired the shots that left him paralyzed from the waist down, former Florissant Police Officer Mike Vernon testified Wednesday at the trial of Brian Cannon Jr.

With more than 20 police officers in the courtroom, Vernon, sitting in a black and orange wheelchair, described how he can “still vividly see the muzzle blast and feel being struck three times.” He says it felt, “Like an eternity as I fell backwards.” He told the jury that when he hit the ground he couldn’t move and was afraid the suspect would come back and, finish me off”.

Even though officers were at his side within moments, Vernon says he was on the ground for what felt like an eternity. He testified that in the ambulance and in the hospital, he could not feel his hand touching his legs, and told doctors, “I can’t feel by legs. I can’t move my legs.”

Vernon told the jury that he responded to the area of Lindbergh and Trotter Way at about 3:00 am on May 28th, 2012 after hearing a call for a burglary and someone running.

He says he stopped his patrol car in the alley behind the Surrey Plaza strip mall, with its headlights and spotlight on. He got out to investigate a pair of shorts on the ground, but determined they had been there a while. He testified that he walked back toward the dumpster, which was around a slight curve in the building, and behind a brick wall.

Vernon said, not seeing anyone, he had made a ‘u-turn’ and was walking back to his car, when he heard a rustling. He thought it was an animal. But then a man jumped out of the dumpster with a chrome handgun and opened fire. Vernon was hit three times. One bullet entered his right shoulder and right lung. Another went through his right lung and into his vertebrae. The third went through his calf.

Vernon told the jury that he picked Cannon out in a line-up of six pictures. He then identified him in court, noting that Cannon no longer has the long dreadlocks he had in May of 2012 and has lost some weight.

Earlier, in a video re-enactment Cannon, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with his hands handcuffed in front of him, held a toy gun to demonstrate how he shot Vernon, but when the officers asked him to climb back into the dumpster he said, “I can’t re-enact that. I can’t”.

Cannon testified in his own defense Thursday afternoon.

He is charged with 11 counts including three burglaries, two car thefts and being a felon in possession of a stolen weapon.

 

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