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Toronto police Constable James Forcillo, charged in the 2013 death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, arrives at court in Toronto on Oct. 13.Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Sammy Yatim threatened to kill other passengers on a streetcar and believed his own life was in danger a few minutes before his fatal confrontation with police, a jury heard on Monday.

The comments were made inside a Toronto Transit Commission streetcar just before midnight on July 26, 2013, and for the first time publicly, the operator of that vehicle gave his version of what happened.

"There was loud screaming from a woman. Threatening screams," testified Chad Seymour, the operator of the Dundas Street streetcar on which Mr. Yatim pulled out a switchblade, swung at a female passenger and exposed himself.

"There was a lot of panic. When I heard he had a knife, a lot of people started to run to the front," Mr. Seymour recounted in testimony at the trial of Toronto police Constable James Forcillo, 32, on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the death of Mr. Yatim.

After looking in his rear-view mirror, Mr. Seymour, 31, stopped the streetcar, opened the front and rear doors and hit two emergency buttons. At least 20 passengers scrambled to get to the front of the vehicle and ran out on to Dundas Street at the intersection with Bellwoods Avenue.

Mr. Seymour stayed inside in the driver's area and, in the mirror, observed Mr. Yatim come to the front "at a normal walking pace." The young man then yelled out the front door, swearing and threatening to kill the people who had just left.

In cross-examination by the officer's lawyer, Mr. Seymour agreed Mr. Yatim used a "challenging" tone of voice when yelling out out the door.

The TTC operator believes that at this moment, Mr. Yatim did not realize someone was still on the streetcar. "Ideally, I would have liked to get off too," Mr. Seymour testified, but he did not want to push by any of the passengers. Once everyone had left, Mr. Seymour decided to say on board rather than turn his back on someone with a knife. "So I just prepped myself," said Mr. Seymour, who asked Mr. Yatim what was wrong.

"Everyone is trying to kill me," the 18-year-old man replied, using a racial epithet to describe people at a subway station who also purportedly wanted to cause him harm.

Security videos from the vehicle that have been played at the trial show Mr. Seymour speaking calmly to Mr. Yatim and alternating between looking outside the streetcar from the bottom step and walking back to the driver's area. At one point, he persuaded Mr. Yatim to go to a seat, while the operator said he would try to get a phone for the young man to call his father.

The knife, with its 10-centimetre blade, was still in Mr. Yatim's hand when the first police vehicle arrived. Mr. Seymour testified that he believes they both saw the police at the same time. Suddenly, the young man swore and swung his knife. That prompted Mr. Seymour to jump out of the vehicle and walk across the street.

The jury heard that police went straight to the vehicle and immediately started shouting "drop the knife" several times.

From the sidewalk, the TTC operator could hear Mr. Yatim refuse the demands and mock the police. "I just put my head in my hands and walked west," he said. As he walked toward onlookers, Mr. Seymour said he heard the first three shots fired by Constable Forcillo.

About five seconds later, he said, the officer fired six more shots. Mr. Yatim was hit eight times. One of the first three shots struck his heart and has been determined to have been the cause of death.

Cross-examination of Mr. Seymour resumes on Tuesday.