SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCD-056
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
Pursuant to section 21 (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may also have been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the death of a 24-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn February 22, 2021, at 12:30 p.m., the London Police Service (LPS) notified the SIU that on February 22, 2021, at 10:30 a.m., the LPS received a call from a man who said he was going to commit suicide in Greenway Park. Upon arrival, LPS officers found the man sitting by the dock and holding a firearm. The man said he was not going to hurt anyone other than himself. A negotiator established contact, but the man discharged the firearm. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) checked the man, pronounced him dead at the scene, and left. LPS officers approached the man and found a pulse. EMS arrived again and transported the man to the hospital. LPS identified the man as the Complainant. At his residence, LPS officers found a suicide note and 20 firearms registered to the Complainant.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 02/22/2021 at 1:29 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 02/22/2021 at 3:10 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators (FIs) assigned: 3
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):24-year-old male, deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW Interviewed
The CW was interviewed on February 24, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #8 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #9 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #10 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #11 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #12 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #13 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #14 Interviewed
WO #15 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #16 Interviewed
WO #1, WO #3, WO #4, WO #14 and WO #16 were interviewed on February 25, 2021. Additionally, the notes of one other police officer were received and reviewed.
The Scene The scene was the riverfront at Greenway Park in London. A parking lot was near the river’s edge and the Complainant’s blue Jeep could be seen parked. It was the only vehicle in the parking lot when an SIU investigator arrived on scene at 3:10 p.m. There was snow on the ground.
The Complainant had called 911 from the wooden observation deck west of the parking lot and on the eastern bank of the Thames River. 
West of the parking lot there were walking trails and an observation deck overlooking the Thames River. At the south end of the observation deck was a bench, and located on the bench was a pistol (and magazine), a knife, a liquor bottle, and a cartridge. Under the bench there was a cell phone and a drinking glass. In front of the bench there was a lighter, a hat and a glove. There was a lot of blood on the snow on the bench and underneath the bench.
Figure 1 - The firearm, magazine and knife recovered from the scene.
FIs completed a scene diagram.
Physical Evidence Items Collected at the Scene
On February 22, 2021, at 3:35 p.m., a SIU FI attended the scene at the south bench of the observation deck of Greenwood Park. The south bench had a large quantity of apparent blood on and around it - concentrated in the west end. The following items were located on and around the bench:
- #1 - Sig Sauer model P320 M17 - 9mm pistol. The pistol was in the safe position and on the east end of the bench;
- #1A - Sig Sauer magazine with 9 - 9mm copper jacket cartridges- round nose on the east end of the bench;
- #2 - Tan-coloured buck knife - in the closed position and on the east end of the bench;
- #3 - 9mm hollow point cartridge - located in the snow on top of the bench near the west end;
- #4 - Cell phone in a case - located under the west end of the bench;
- #5 - Empty 750-ml JP Wisers deluxe whisky bottle - bloodstained - located on top of bench in the snow near the middle;
- #6 - Empty Johnnie Walker glass tumbler - bloodstained - located under the west end of the bench;
- #7 – Yellow-coloured Zippo lighter - located on the deck in front of the south bench - west end;
- #8 - Baseball cap - heavily bloodstained with an apparent bullet strike to the left side brim and in front of the south bench on the deck - near the middle;
- #9 - Black left winter flip-style mitt - located on the deck in front of the south bench and near the middle; and
- #10 - Swab of the bloodstain on the west end of the south bench.
Although the area was completely searched by the SIU FI, including by use of a metal detector, no cartridge casing was located. It is believed that the case may have gone into the river.
Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) SubmissionsOn March 8, 2021, the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol and a cartridge were submitted for Ballistics and Firearm Distance Determination. At the time of this report, no report has been received from the CFS.
Firearm ExaminationOn February 24, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., an SIU FI examined the Sig Sauer Model P320 M17 9mm semi-automatic pistol. The firearm identification number was uploaded to the SIU’s Canadian Firearm Program (CFP) protected inventory.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
911 Call Made by the ComplainantLPS provided the 911 call from the Complainant, on February 24, 2021 at 2:45 p.m. Eleven calls were provided by LPS and they were not timestamped.
At 10:30 a.m. (time from Computer Assisted Dispatch (CAD) Report), February 22, 2021, the Complainant, who was calm, apologized to the call-taker that she took the call because he was about to kill himself. He was at Greenway Park sitting on the dock by the pollution plant and dog park, about 80 to 100 metres west of the public washroom. He explained he could not take it anymore. The Complainant had his registered sidearm with him and did not want a passerby to find him; he wanted somebody that could handle it to find him. There were periods of silence. He said he did not want to talk to anybody, but the dispatcher told him she was sending somebody to talk to him. The Complainant wanted her to make sure the police officers knew his Sig Sauer 9 mm firearm was loaded. He did not want to hurt anybody else; he just wanted to see this view one last time. This was the first time in a long time he was able to see anything. After a long period of silence, the Complainant told the dispatcher to let the police officers know he was unholstering his firearm and that he would not aim his firearm at them. He said he saw the arrival of LPS vehicles. After another period of silence, the call ended or dropped.
Communications RecordingsLPS provided the communication recordings to the SIU on March 3, 2021, at 10:58 a.m. The file was marked as 1 hour 59 minutes and 23 seconds in length. There were no timestamps associated with the file. There was no audio recording of conversations between the Complainant and a negotiator, as it was later discovered that WO #1 used his personal cellular telephone. WO #9 would later assist in the call in giving sporadic verbal updates. Throughout this call there were considerations for the public safety, such as closing the park and its walking paths, as well as surrounding roadways. The LPS officers also turned off their sirens as they approached, so as not to startle the Complainant. Just prior to the Complainant shooting himself, teams were being formed on the walking paths with a less lethal force option of the CEW and later a Blunt Impact Projectile.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained the following records from the LPS between February 24, 2021, and March 8, 2021:
- LPS General Occurrence;
- LPS CAD report;
- 911 call and communication recordings;
- Notes of SO, the WOs and an undesignated officer;  and
- Private Firearm Acquired - CFP.
- Materials Obtained from Other Sources
- Preliminary Autopsy Findings from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service; and
- Documents from Middlesex-London Emergency Medical Services.
At about 10:30 a.m. of February 22, 2021, the LPS received a 911 call from the Complainant. The Complainant indicated he was sitting on a bench in Greenway Park near the Thames River holding a handgun and with plans to end his life. He explained that he could not take it anymore. The Complainant made it clear he had no intention of harming anyone else. He was where he was because he wanted to see that view one last time. The dispatcher told him that she was sending police officers to speak with him, and officers were dispatched to the scene.
WO #3 and WO #4 were among the first officers at the scene, arriving at about 10:40 a.m. Their first order of business was to ensure that pedestrians using the park in the area were kept away. From a distance, WO #3 called out to the Complainant saying he wanted to help, but there was no answer. Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers and a trained negotiator, WO #1, were also dispatched and began arriving at the park. WO #1 was able to reach the Complainant on his cell phone and engage him in dialogue.
The SO arrived on scene at about 11:00 a.m. and began to oversee the police operation.
Over the next 50 minutes or so, WO #1 attempted to dissuade the Complainant from harming himself. They talked about family, dogs, personal struggles and other matters of mutual interest. Though patient and calm, the Complainant was insistent that he would end his life and made it clear that he would shoot himself if officers approached. He reiterated that he had no plans to hurt anyone but himself.
At about 11:32 a.m., the Complainant raised the handgun, in his right hand, to his head and pulled the trigger, his body slumping.
At the sight and sound of the discharge, officers, behind the cover of a light armoured vehicle that had been brought to the scene, made their way to the observation deck. Assured that the scene was safe, the officers summoned for the attendance of paramedics, who had been staging in the area. Believing that the Complainant was obviously deceased, the initial paramedics left the scene. However, paramedics were asked to re-attend shortly thereafter when it appeared to the officers that he had a pulse.
The Complainant was taken in ambulance to the hospital. He had suffered lethal and irreversible injuries, and was pronounced deceased the following day.
Cause of DeathAt autopsy, the pathologist was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to a perforating gunshot wound to the head. The gunshot had entered the right temporal scalp and exited via the left temporal scalp.
Section 219, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
Section 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm220 Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for negligent conduct that exhibits a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other, and results in death. Simple negligence will not suffice to ground liability. Rather, what is required is a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have observed in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether the SO, in her leadership role, fell short in her duties and, if so, whether her shortcomings caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death and were sufficiently egregious as to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there is no evidence to reasonably establish that the SO was derelict in how she conducted herself.
At the outset, it bears noting that the officers, including the SO, were lawfully placed in the park at the time of the Complainant’s death. They were there in the discharge of their foremost duty as police officers, namely, the protection and preservation of life. Having received the Complainant’s 911 call about his plans to die by suicide, the officers were duty bound to attend at the scene and make their best efforts to deter his self-destructive intentions. Given that a firearm was involved, the police also had a duty to ensure the safety of others in the vicinity.
Once positioned in the park, I am satisfied that the officers under the SO’s command conducted themselves with due regard for the health and safety of the Complainant and the public. Efforts were quickly undertaken to clear the park of pedestrians, control vehicular traffic around the area, establish a perimeter around the Complainant, and place deflation devices under the tires of his vehicle, the lone one parked in the lot east of the observation deck. Those initiatives were clearly necessary. Though the Complainant had emphasized that he had no intention of hurting anyone other than himself, he was of unsound mind and armed with a gun. For those same reasons, I am unable to fault the officers for maintaining a safe distance from the Complainant throughout their engagement, a fact which effectively foreclosed the potential use of less lethal weapons as a means of taking the Complainant into custody. As for the efforts to negotiate a safe resolution of the matter, there is no indication in the evidence to suggest that they were remiss in any degree. WO #1, who led those talks, was a trained negotiator. He had managed to develop a rapport with the Complainant and kept him talking for just under an hour before the fateful shot. As those negotiations were ongoing, efforts were even made to consult with an on-call psychologist with the LPS to assist with these types of situations.
In the result, I am unable to reasonably conclude on the aforementioned-record that the SO and the officers under her command comported themselves other than professionally in their dealings with the Complainant. Though the Complainant was able to make good on his intentions, that was through no fault of the involved officers. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the SO and the file is closed.
Date: May 10, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) A blue tarp had been placed by LPS after the firearm discharge to preserve the scene. [Back to text]
- 2) The following records contain sensitive personal information and are not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the records are summarized below. [Back to text]
- 3) This officer’s only involvement was as the scribe for the SO; accordingly, she was not designated a witness official. [Back to text]
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.