SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OFP-096


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving an official where there has been death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act), officials are defined as police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act. The SIU’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

Pursuant 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 Act

Pursuant 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, 2004

Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information 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.

Mandate Engaged

Pursuant to section 15 of the SIU Act, the SIU may investigate the conduct of officials, be they police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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 discharge of a firearm at a 21-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On March 28, 2021 at 4:30 a.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the SIU of police firearms being discharged at a person.

According to PRP, at approximately 3:05 a.m. that morning, PRP officers responded to an address in the area of Mississauga Road and Mayfield Road, Brampton, regarding a report of a woman screaming. Upon their arrival the officers could still hear a woman screaming from inside the residence. The officers breached the front door and entered the residence. They followed the sounds of screaming to a door that led to the garage. Inside the garage they encountered a male and female inside a vehicle. The male was in the driver’s seat and the screaming female was in the rear seat. Officers demanded the male exit the vehicle. The driver was observed reaching around behind himself and then pointing a weapon at the officers. Two PRP officers opened fire on the male. The garage door then opened, and the male reversed the vehicle and fled the scene with the female still in the back seat of the vehicle. It was unknown at the time of the notification whether anyone in the vehicle had been injured by the gunfire.

The PRP also reported they had received a tip that a Toronto Police Service (TPS) homicide suspect by the name of [the Complainant] had been hiding out at that residence.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 03/28/2021 at 5:32 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/28/2021 at 6:20 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2

Two SIU investigators and two forensic investigators were dispatched to the incident scene. An additional investigator was later added to the investigation.

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

21-year-old male, declined interview

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed on March 28, 2021, and March 30, 2021.

Subject Officials

SO #1 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

SO #1 was interviewed on May 3, 2021.

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #7 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed between March 28, 2021 and June 14, 2021.


The Scene

The residence near Mississauga Road and Mayfield Road is a townhouse style home in a subdivision. It is a two-story home with a one-car garage next to the front door. Inside the home, a doorway connects the garage to the kitchen area. The front door of the residence showed obvious signs of having been forced open.

In the garage of the home, SIU forensic investigators recovered five .40 calibre cartridge cases and a projectile. Three additional cartridge cases were recovered from the driveway of the home.

Physical Evidence

SO #1 and SO #2 were both carrying Smith and Wesson M&P .40 calibre semi-automatic handguns. On March 28, 2021, a SIU forensic identification investigator collected their firearms and determined SO #2’s firearm was missing six rounds of ammunition. SO #1’s firearm was determined to be missing two rounds of ammunition.

Figure 1 - SO #1's firearm.

Figure 2 - SO #2's firearm.

CW #2’s Honda Civic was found abandoned on Whitepoppy Drive. An examination of the vehicle identified bullet strikes to the passenger side front tire, the front bumper and the front passenger side fender area. A large butcher knife was found wedged behind the driver side windshield wiper. There was no blood identified inside the vehicle.

Figure 3 - The butcher knife found on the Honda Civic.

The passenger side front tire of the Honda Civic had been destroyed. A gouge in the road leading to the vehicle indicated the tire was absent as the Complainant drove along Whitepoppy Drive.

On March 29, 2021, the PRP executed a search warrant on the Honda Civic and an SIU forensic identification investigator attended to conduct further examinations on the vehicle. The following defects, believed to be bullet impact sites on the vehicle, tested positive for the presence of lead:

  • Passenger side front wheel rim spoke – outer surface;
  • Passenger side front wheel rim – inner surface of rim (consistent with a bullet traveling through the tire);
  • Passenger side front tire wheel nut;
  • Passenger side front headlight assembly;
  • Front bumper on driver side; and
  • Front bumper on passenger side.

Two other defects in the skirt under the front bumper appeared to be bullet defects but they did not test positive for the presence of lead.

Forensic Evidence

On April 3, 2021, the SIU submitted firearms and ammunition obtained from SO #1 and SO #2 to the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS). The SIU also submitted a projectile, a projectile fragment, and the spent cartridge cases that were recovered from the scene. Also submitted were the knife found on the windshield of the Honda Civic and the swabs taken to identify the presence of lead at the bullet defects identified on the vehicle.

At the time of the submission of this report, the results of the CFS analyses had not yet been received. It is anticipated the results would confirm SO #1 fired her weapon twice and SO #2 fired his handgun six times.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Communications and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)

On March 28, 2021, at 2:57 a.m., CW #1 called 911 to report he could hear someone screaming on his street. CW #1 reported he heard a man screaming and using profanities toward a woman. It sounded as though the man was trying to enter a residence. SO #1 and SO #2 were dispatched to the call [note: SO #2 had WO #3 with him].

SO #1 arrived in front of the residence at 3:03 a.m. and she reported she could hear a man screaming in an aggressive manner. She decided to wait for assistance. At 3:05 a.m., SO #2 and WO #3 arrived.

At 3:06 a.m., SO #2 reported he heard a woman screaming inside the residence and he was going to breach the front door.

At 3:07 a.m., it was reported a black vehicle was fleeing the area. SO #2 reported a woman was in the rear seat of the vehicle and the driver was a black male. SO #2 also reported shots had been fired at the hood of the car.

At 3:35 a.m., WO #5 reported she had learned from SO #2 that the woman was in the vehicle unwillingly and the male driver was armed with some sort of weapon.

At 3:54 a.m., WO #5 advised the dispatcher that the man in the vehicle would be the Complainant. The dispatcher advised officers that the Complainant was to be considered armed and dangerous, and he was wanted by the TPS for first degree murder.

Video Recordings

The SIU obtained video records of relevance, as set out below.

A video recording obtained from security company, Stealth Monitoring, documented the incident. At 2:31 a.m., a black Honda Civic stopped in front of the scene and the driver [known to be CW #2] walked over to a utility box on the boulevard across the street from the residence. She appeared to leave something behind the utility box. CW #2 then drove away.

A man wearing a grey track suit then exited a nearby residence and walked over to the utility box, with the flashlight on his cellular telephone activated. The man [the Complainant] picked up something from behind the utility box and he returned to the residence.

The black Honda Civic returned and again stopped in front of the residence. At 2:36 a.m., CW #2 exited the vehicle and examined the area at the rear of the utility box. The Complainant then ran from the residence and appeared to enter the front passenger door of the vehicle.

At 2:41 a.m., the garage door of the residence started to rise and the Honda Civic was driven into the garage. The garage door was then closed.

At 3:04 a.m., SO #1 arrived in front of the residence. SO #2 and WO #3 arrived from the opposite direction at 3:05 a.m. The three PRP members walked up to the garage door.

At 3:06:01 a.m., the three PRP members walked up to the front door of the residence and they entered the residence. At 3:06:45 a.m., the garage door opened and the Honda Civic reversed quickly onto the street. SO #2 exited the garage but his subsequent actions were obscured by a vehicle parked in a neighbouring driveway. SO #1 exited the garage behind SO #2, as the Honda Civic sped off down the street.

A civilian resided on the street and provided the SIU (and the news media) a copy of a cellular telephone video recording taken from a bedroom window. The video recording was not time stamped.

At an elapsed time of 3:12 minutes, SO #1 exited her police vehicle as SO #2 arrived. At 03:59 minutes elapsed time, a male voice could be heard yelling, “Police,” and there was loud banging, believed to be the police officers knocking on the garage door. At 04:58 minutes elapsed time, a male voice yelled commands and, one second later, at 04:59 minutes, there were five gunshots heard. At 05:00 minutes elapsed time, the Honda Civic quickly reversed out of the garage and struck garbage containers on the passenger side of the vehicle. As the Honda Civic came to a stop on the road, three more gunshots could be heard. The Honda Civic sped off. The recording then captured SO #2’s PRP SUV speeding past the bedroom window.

The TPS surveillance camera recording referenced by WO #7 in her SIU interview documented the events. She had described the video as depicting the following:
  • At 2:34 a.m., a black male in a grey hooded track suit exited the front door of the residence carrying his cellular telephone, with the telephone flashlight activated. The male walked toward the street and disappeared from view;
  •  At 2:34 a.m., the male re-entered the residence;
  •  At 2:35 a.m., a car arrived at the house;
  •  At 2:36 a.m., the male in the grey track suit ran from the house, leaving the front door open;
  •  At 2:40 a.m., the garage door opened, and the car was driven into the garage;
  •  At 2:45 a.m., the garage door opened and then closed;
  • Through the garage door window WO #7 saw the male’s head jumping up and down several times. The movement seemed to be frantic;
  • At 2:48 a.m., the garage door opened part way and WO #7 could see somebody wearing grey track pants kick something on the ground;
  • At 2:50 a.m., the man was seen “bouncing” again, through the garage door windows;
  • At 3:00 a.m., the front door of the residence was closed by someone from inside the residence;
  • At 3:04 a.m., the first police vehicle arrived;
  • At 3:06 a.m., three police officers entered the front door of the residence;
  • Approximately 40 seconds later, a Honda Civic reversed out of the garage, dragging a garbage bag with it. The car hit garbage cans that were in front of the house;
  • A male police officer exited the garage and kneeled, with a firearm pointed at the vehicle. WO #7 could not tell if the police officer discharged his firearm;
  • The vehicle sped off down the street;
  • A female police officer exited the garage after the male police officer;
  • The police officers entered their vehicles and drove after the Honda Civic; and
  • A neighbour exited his residence to speak to the police officers at one point.

The video recording was received by the SIU on June 27, 2021. WO #7’s summary of the events captured in the video recording was accurate. The only additions to her summary would be the following:
  • When the Complainant could be observed (through the garage door window) walking around the vehicle, at one point he was carrying something that appeared to be a pole, but is believed to have been a shovel;
  • At 2:45 a.m., when the garage door opened, a snow shovel that was leaning against the inside of the garage door fell to the floor of the garage;
  • At 2:47 a.m., when the garage door opened again, the Complainant used his foot to shove something on the floor aside, which is believed to have been the snow shovel;
  • At 3:05 a.m., as SO #1, SO #2 and WO #3 were at the garage door, SO #2 appeared to look into the garage through the door windows; and
  • At 3:06 a.m., as the Honda Civic came to a stop after reversing out of the garage onto the street, SO #2 ran out of the garage holding his firearm in an isosceles stance. He clearly discharged his firearm while on the driveway.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained the following records from the PRP between April 1, 2021, and April 16, 2021:
  • A copy of the related radio and telephone communications;
  • Computer-assisted Dispatch Event Chronology;
  • Photographs of scene and examination of involved Honda Civic;
  • Notes of all designated witness officials and SO #1;
  • Scribe notes for a PRP interview of CW #2;
  • Communications Audio Report-Phone;
  • Communications Audio Report-Radio;
  • PRP Incident Response (use of force) Policy; and
  • Use of Force Training Dates for SO #1 and SO #2.
  • The SIU obtained the following records from the TPS between June 8, 2021, and June 27, 2021:
  • The notes of WO #7; and
  • A copy of surveillance camera recordings.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
  • A video recording from Stealth Monitoring; and
  • A cellular telephone video recording.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question are relatively clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with two civilian eyewitnesses and one of the subject officials – SO #1 – as well as video recordings that captured the incident in parts. As was his legal right, SO #2 chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

Shortly before 3:00 a.m. of March 28, 2021, the PRP received a 911 call from CW #1 from the area of Mississauga Road and Mayfield Road in Brampton. CW #1 reported the sounds of screaming coming from a neighbour’s residence. Officers were dispatched to the scene.

The screaming was coming from the Complainant and CW #2. CW #2 was returning home in her car when the Complainant ambushed her outside the residence, forced his way into the driver’s seat of her vehicle – a Honda Civic, and drove the vehicle into the garage. The two argued loudly in the vehicle, drawing the attention of CW #1.

After arrival of police, the interior door to the garage opened with SO #1 and SO #2 present at the threshold. Behind them was a police cadet – WO #3 – who had been partnered with SO #2 that day. The officers had arrived at the address shortly after 3:00 a.m. Hearing the screams of a female coming from within the garage pleading to be let go, the officers tried and failed to lift the garage door. SO #2 subsequently kicked open the locked front door of the home and the officers made their way to the interior door leading to the garage.

SO #2 stepped down onto the garage floor and made his way to the driver’s side of the vehicle as SO #1 remained at the doorway threshold, which was elevated by two steps. WO #3 stood behind SO #1. With their firearms drawn and pointed at the Complainant, they repeatedly yelled at him to shut the car off and step out from it.

The Complainant did not shut off the car and exit. With his left hand on the steering wheel, the Complainant reached his right arm over toward the passenger side of the vehicle. The exterior garage door started to lift behind the vehicle and the Civic began to reverse quickly. As this was occurring, the Complainant raised his right hand in the direction of SO #1. In it was a black object.

Fearing that the Complainant was holding a handgun and was getting away, SO #2 fired three shots. This was followed closely by SO #1 firing twice in the direction of the Complainant. None of these shots struck the Complainant or disabled the vehicle.

The Complainant continued to reverse and made it onto the roadway. As the Complainant stopped and then began to accelerate eastward down the roadway, SO #2 fired an additional three shots at the vehicle from the driveway of the home. the Complainant made good his escape with CW #2 still in the vehicle.

The Civic was subsequently located abandoned on Whitepoppy Drive, about five kilometres from the scene.

CW #2 walked into a PRP station on March 29, 2021. She had not been physically injured during the events of the day before.

The Complainant, who was wanted at the time on an arrest warrant in Toronto for first degree murder in relation to a homicide in July 2020, was arrested in a drug raid in Timmins on May 7, 2021. He too was uninjured.

Relevant Legislation

Section 34, Criminal Code -- Defence of person - Use of threat of force

34 (1) A person is not guilty of an offence if
(a) They believe on reasonable grounds that force is being used against them or another person or that a threat of force is being made against them or another person; 
(b) The act that constitutes the offence is committed for the purpose of defending or protecting themselves or the other person from that use or threat of force; and
(c) The act committed is reasonable in the circumstances.
(2) In determining whether the act committed is reasonable in the circumstances, the court shall consider the relevant circumstances of the person, the other parties and the act, including, but not limited to, the following factors:
(a) the nature of the force or threat;
(b) the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force;
(c) the person’s role in the incident;
(d) whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon; 
(e) the size, age, gender and physical capabilities of the parties to the incident;
(f) the nature, duration and history of any relationship between the parties to the incident, including any prior use or threat of force and the nature of that force or threat;
(f.1) any history of interaction or communication between the parties to the incident;
(g) the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force; and 
(h) whether the act committed was in response to a use or threat of force that the person knew was lawful.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On March 28, 2021, two PRP officers discharged their firearms in the direction of the Complainant. Though the Complainant was not struck or injured in the shooting, the PRP notified the SIU and the SIU invoked its jurisdiction given its expanded mandate under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019, in force as of December 1, 2020, which now includes the investigation of police firearm discharges at persons. The two officers – SO #1 and SO #2 – were identified as subject officials for purposes of the SIU investigation. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the shooting.

Section 34 of the Criminal Code sets out the limits of the justified use of force in defence of oneself or another. Defensive force of this nature is legally authorized if it is intended to protect against a reasonably apprehended attack, actual or threatened, and is itself reasonable. Whether the force is reasonable is to be assessed against all the relevant circumstances, including such considerations as: the nature of the force or threat; the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force; whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon; and, the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force. In the instant case, the issue is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe on the evidence that either of the subject officials transgressed the limits of section 34 in discharging their firearms. In my view, there are not.

SO #1 and SO #2 were in the lawful discharge of their duties when they responded to a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance in progress. Once at the residence, they could hear screams coming from the garage. When they were unable to lift the garage door, they were reasonably of the view that exigent circumstances existed warranting a forced entry into the home.

Thereafter, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officers’ gunfire was unlawful. At the time, the officers were operating in a confined space and highly volatile atmosphere with the Civic running in the garage and CW #2 in distress in the backseat of the vehicle. They repeatedly directed the Complainant to stop and exit the car, but he failed to do so. Rather, the Complainant was intent on escape. He opened the garage door and started to reverse the Civic while simultaneously coming up with his right hand, holding a black object and pointing it at SO #1. At that moment, an already dire situation had escalated to life and death proportions. SO #1 indicated that she believed that a handgun was about to be fired at her. SO #2 did not provide a statement to the SIU, but the circumstances described by SO #1 and the officer’s conduct - immediately discharging his weapon at the vehicle – persuade me that he too believed he was being confronted with a firearm in the hands of the Complainant. Whether the object was in fact a firearm remains uncertain, though I am inclined to believe that it was in fact such on the evidence gathered by the SIU. Be that as it may, the officers’ belief was a reasonable one in the heat of the moment, as was their responsive force. SO #1 fired twice at the Complainant – a reasonable choice given she legitimately believed her life was in imminent danger by gunfire from the Complainant. SO #2 fired three times at the vehicle’s lower front in an apparent attempt to disable it. At the time, the officer had good cause to fear that CW #2’s life would be in danger at the hands of the Complainant if he was allowed to escape. In the circumstances, there was logic to the officer’s conduct even if the Civic was not immediately immobilized. The same may be said of the second volley of three shots fired by SO #2 from the driveway at the front left tire of the Civic. In arriving at these findings, I am mindful of the inherent risks associated with firing at a moving vehicle. However, those risks, including the potential for stray bullets to harm third persons, were not prohibitive in this case given the countervailing risks to the health and wellbeing of CW #2 associated with the Complainant if unchecked.

For the foregoing reasons, and on the aforementioned-record, I am not satisfied on reasonable grounds that either of SO #1 and SO #2 comported themselves unlawfully when they fired their weapons in the course of this incident. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.

Date: July 26, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) 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]


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.