The Crown suffered a blow to its attempt to prove that a young man on trial for the murder of Jane Creba fired a shot in the gun battle that left her dead.

An off-duty police officer slightly wounded in the Boxing Day shootout testified Thursday that he was so close to one of the shooters, ejected shells from a semi-automatic handgun struck him as it fired.

Const. David Audette told the murder trial of J.S.R. that he was out shopping with his wife on Yonge Street on Dec. 26, 2005 when the shooting suddenly broke out between two rival groups of young men.

Audette wasn't wounded by a bullet. Instead, a hot shell casing hit him in the face. He was one of six people wounded. Teen Jane Creba died at the scene.

The gunman Audette described was older, taller and had a darker skin complexion that the accused on trial.

J.S.R. -- now 20, but 17 at the time of the shooting, so he can't be fully identified because he was then a young offender -- has a light complexion.

On Tuesday, the defence lawyer planted the suggestion that J.S.R. didn't fire a shot that night. Instead, defence lawyer Mara Green suggested that Louis Woodcock -- also known as Big Guy, and someone charged with murder in connection with the Creba case -- passed a handgun to J.S.R. after the shooting ended.

Police arrested J.S.R. at the Castle Frank subway station about 40 minutes after the shooting ended. They took a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic handgun from him.

The trial has heard that testing of the gun found Woodcock's DNA on the trigger and slide.

A firearms expert testified Thursday that she could not say conclusively if J.S.R. fired a gun that night.

J.S.R. is not accused of firing the shot that killed Creba.

However, recent advances in Canadian criminal law mean that someone involved in a gunfight can be charged with murder if another person returns fire that kills a bystander.

J.S.R. faces one count of second-degree murder, six counts of attempted murder and five weapons charges.

He is the first of nine people to go to trial in the case. Seven of those awaiting trial are adults and one is a young offender.

J.S.R.'s 3�-year-old son came to court on Thursday and waved to his father in the prisoner's box. "Bye daddy," he said at the day's end.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Chris Eby