Police handguns and an M16 rifle were pointed at Joshua Reece after he drove across the Squilax-Anglemont bridge near Chase.
RCMP had reason to be suspicious after receiving a tip that Reece, who was banned from firearms, was in possession of a restricted weapon. He was also a suspect in three armed robberies.
His trial on three weapons charges began in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday with Crown and defence witnesses taking the stand.
Two officers testified about a "high-risk" takedown they were involved in March 7 after staking out a known drug house on Eva Road in Lee Creek, across from Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park.
Officers from Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Chase had the house under surveillance that day, hoping Reece would leave the house so that they could intercept him.
"We just didn't want to enter the house with firearms," said Cpl. Lewis Sardina.
Two vans left separately and the drivers were stopped at a nearby gas station. Reece's girlfriend was in one of the vans, so police confiscated her cellphone and placed a bogus text message to Reece in an attempt to lure him out of the house. The text told him that the van had been rear-ended in Valleyview and they needed a lift.
The ploy worked. Reece immediately got into a car and headed for Kamloops, only to run into a roadblock at the bridge. Instead of stopping, though, he attempted a U-turn as a spikebelt was deployed.
Police in two other vehicles immediately moved to block Reece's exit. He was ordered to raise his hands and get out of the vehicle. It was then that they noticed his movements in the vehicle. Suddenly it became a hairtrigger situation from a police standpoint.
"As soon as I saw that movement, that's my cue for action," said Const. David Lewis, a dog handler who'd been called in to assist.
Another officer testified that two fingerprints lifted from the revolver matched those provided by Reece when he was taken into custody.
Testifying in his own defence, Reece said the vehicle belonged to the landlord at the house and he wasn't aware there was a .357 magnum handgun in the console. He said he borrowed the car after receiving the text message asking for a ride.
"I was worried. I was concerned for her, so I jumped in the car and left."
Reece said he doesn't have a B.C. driver's licence, so when he saw the roadblock he attempted to return to the house to have the landlord's girlfriend make the drive. He said he was merely taking the car out of gear and releasing the seatbelt in his movements, not attempting to conceal a gun.
Defence counsel Don Campbell asked him what would have been necessary had he attempted to open the console.
"Probably turning around and getting my head blown off," he said.
In his cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Joel Gold challenged Reece's account.
"What you were concerned about was police finding you in a vehicle with a loaded revolver," he asserted.
Gold questioned why he would think a U-turn in front of a police roadblock was a good idea. Why wouldn't he have asked the landlord's girlfriend to drive in the first place?
In earlier testimony, Reece said he briefly handled the gun when it was shown to him by a man known only as Adam at his birthday party a few days before.
The trial continues Wednesday.