The RCMP officer who pulled the trigger in Saturday’s fatal shooting in Truro is home and recovering from his injuries.
And the 22-year-old male, who police say tried to run him down, is being remembered as a quiet kid seemingly incapable of what transpired this weekend.
Both men were identified by friends and family on Monday.
Bible Hill RCMP Const. Ben Goodwin is believed to be the officer involved in Saturday’s early morning fatal shooting that began with a report of a stolen vehicle around 1:15 a.m. in East Amherst and ended after the driver of the vehicle hit the officer and was shot to death immediately after, at about 2:30 a.m.
The man who was shot is believed to be Mitchell Anthony Speight of Amherst, who had 33 convictions — many for theft or theft of a vehicle. He was released from jail 11 days before the shooting.
On Monday, The Chronicle Herald spoke over the phone to an Amherst woman with the last name Speight, who identified herself as the 22-year-old victim’s grandmother.
“It’s a tragedy and I’m dealing with it OK,” said the woman in a brief conversation moments before hanging up. “I’m his grandmother. He was my grandson. I loved him and that’s all I have to say.”
Several people posted on Speight’s Facebook page, offering condolences.
“Rest easy Mitchell Speight,” read one post. “You’ll be missed brother hard to believe you’re gone but thank you for everything brother, one of my biggest motivators, and one of the most understanding people I know.”
Another post expressed disbelief over his death.
“I don’t know if all this I’m hearing about you (passing) is true man, if it is, rest easy brother! You had such a kind heart, the world needs more like you yet it seems to be taking them up above. They must need you up there in the clouds!”
Marilyn King of Oxford said she learned of the RCMP officer’s identity and his health status through her daughter, who works with the RCMP. But she said couldn’t divulge more information because the province’s Serious Incident Response Team is investigating the shooting. “All I know is he’s home now and that’s excellent news. I’m very relieved he’s OK.”
Earlier, she posted on Facebook that Goodwin and his girlfriend recently had a baby
On Sunday, she posted that Goodwin was recovering in hospital.
“Out of ICU, serious concussion, three brain bleeds repaired,” King said in her post. “No recollection of anything or why he was where he was. Knows he has a bald patch and complained he just wasted $24 the previous day for a haircut. That’s Ben! Pray for full recovery.”
In a previous Facebook post she identified Goodwin as an RCMP officer and that he had been flown to a Halifax hospital.
“Please pray for Ben, his girlfriend and new baby ... also for his family and fellow RCMP officers. Thank you.”
Goodwin appears to have served in Oxford before being transferred to Bible Hill. Several Facebook posts indicate that Goodwin had been a well-liked officer in Oxford and participated in several community events.
Amherst town councillor Wayne MacKenzie had been Speight’s hockey coach for a period of five years, including his three-year stint with the Amherst Regional High School team.
He described Speight as a quiet kid and an exceptional athlete. MacKenzie is still trying to come to terms with what he calls an all-around tragedy.
“A lot of people cared about him,” said MacKenzie. “It`s just a shame that something like this had to happen. But I also feel very bad for the RCMP officer involved. The police have a very, very hard job to do.”
He said Speight could get aggressive but MacKenzie never believed he was capable of hurting anyone.
MacKenzie said he often saw Speight in the community and the pair would almost always talk. He said he ran into Speight about a month ago in Amherst. But Speight would never talk about his feelings and was always someone who kept his emotions bottled up. He said as an athlete Speight was often hard on himself after what he considered a sub-par performance.
Speight’s mother died in March 2010. Speight’s father also has a history of serious brushes with the law.
His son’s criminal troubles appear to have started in recent years, with all 33 of Mitchell Speight’s convictions coming since February 2017.
This past May, Speight pleaded guilty to several charges in relation to an Antigonish County ATV theft. In February 2018, Mounties arrested Speight after he made off with a sport utility vehicle from a Bible Hill gas station while the owner was paying for his fuel.
Neither Nova Scotia RCMP nor SIRT would confirm the identity of the officer or the shooting victim.
SIRT director Felix Cacchione did say that the officer had been in a medically induced coma, but is now conscious.