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SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-PCD-322

Contents:

News Releases for this Case:

French:

Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Unit’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.

Information restrictions

Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)

Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (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 whose release 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 of FIPPA (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this document. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Subject Officer name(s);
  • Witness Officer name(s);
  • Civilian Witness name(s);
  • 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 (“PHIPA”)

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

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information may have also 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

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents where there is a serious injury (including sexual assault allegations) or death in cases involving the police.

“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.

This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the death of a 40-year-old male (the Complainant), during an interaction with police on November 1, 2018.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

At approximately 5:10 a.m. on November 1, 2018, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of the shooting death of the Complainant.

The OPP reported that in the early hours of November 1, 2018, the Complainant had abducted civilian witness (CW) #1 from her residence. At approximately 4:30 a.m., the OPP located the Complainant’s vehicle on Tuckers Road in the area of the Town of Bancroft. Unbeknownst to the police, CW #1 had been handcuffed by the Complainant and was seated in the passenger seat. As subject officer (SO) #1 and SO #2, two OPP officers, approached the vehicle, the Complainant shot himself to death with a high powered rifle.

CW #1, who was not physically injured, was taken to the hospital and treated for emotional distress.

The Team

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

Complainant:

40-year-old male, deceased


Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed

Witness Officers

WO #1 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #2 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #4 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #5 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Interviewed, notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary
WO #8 Notes reviewed, interview deemed not necessary


Subject Officers

SO #1 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
SO #2 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.



Incident Narrative

The Complainant suffered from mental illness and had suicidal ideations; in the days leading up to his death, he had asked both CW #1 and CW #2 to shoot him as he did not wish to live anymore. On November 1, 2018, the Complainant abducted CW #1 from her residence and placed her in his vehicle with the intention of taking her to his residence apparently because he wanted her to shoot him in the woods. En route to the Complainant’s residence, he was intercepted by two OPP officers, who had been advised by the Durham Regional Police Service of the abduction and kidnapping of CW #1. The Complainant stopped his truck on Tuckers Road near the Town of Apsley. As the subject officers approached the vehicle to arrest the Complainant, the Complainant, while still seated in the driver’s position, placed a .308 rifle under his chin and discharged it, in the presence of CW #1, who was handcuffed and seated in the front passenger seat. The Complainant’s .308 rifle was found positioned between his legs, with the barrel pointing upward. The firearm was checked and there was a spent cartridge in the chamber of the rifle. CW #1 immediately exited the passenger seat of the vehicle screaming and shouting that the Complainant had shot himself. The Complainant was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cause of Death

The pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on the body of the Complainant determined that cause of death was due to a “Submental (from the area under the chin) Gunshot Wound Perforating Head and Brain.”

Evidence

The Scene

The truck containing the Complainant’s body, still seated in the driver’s seat, was parked near 56 Tuckers Road (a gravel road) in the Township of North Kawartha, in the County of Peterborough. The truck was on the north shoulder, roughly 310 metres west of Highway 28. The Complainant was behind the steering wheel of his black Ford truck and the engine was still idling at the time that the SIU investigators arrived at the scene. A .308 calibre bolt action rifle was located between the Complainant’s legs. A large portion of the Complainant’s head was missing and the interior of the truck was spattered with blood and brain matter. The barrel of the rifle was located in the Complainant’s left hand and his right hand was between his legs and proximal to the trigger area. There was one spent cartridge case in the chamber of the rifle and three live rounds in the magazine.

Physical Evidence

The Complainant’s firearm.

The Complainant’s firearm.

Forensic Evidence

No submissions were made to the Centre of Forensic Sciences.

Expert Evidence

The pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on the body of the Complainant determined that cause of death was due to a “Submental (from the area under the chin) Gunshot Wound Perforating Head and Brain.”

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence

The SIU canvassed the area for any video or audio recordings, and photographic evidence, but none were located.

Communications Recordings

November 1, 2018:

0358:28 hrs: BOLO (Be on the Look-Out) from OPP for a black Ford registered to the Complainant who was wanted for abducting CW #1. A ping from his cell phone pinpointed the truck travelling northbound on Highway 115 near Peterborough;
0417:01 hrs: The truck is now northbound on Highway 28 near Burleigh Falls;
0443:19 hrs: SO #2, who was southbound on Highway 28, reported that the truck just passed him going in the opposite direction. He is making a U-turn to pursue it;
0445:45 hrs: SO #2 reported that he has caught up to the truck near Tuckers Road;
0446:09 hrs: SO #2 reported that the truck had turned onto Tuckers Road, a graveled dead end road;
0446:38 hrs: SO #2 reported that the truck was stopped;
0447:48 hrs: SO #2 reported that he was behind the truck and had his spot light on it;
0449:47 hrs: SO #2 told SO #1 over the air that he was going to execute a gunpoint arrest;
0450:47 hrs: SO #1 arrived at the scene;
0451:10 hrs: SO #2 asked SO #1 to turn off his headlights;
0451:59 hrs: SO #2 told the dispatcher that the Complainant had shot himself and that he appeared to be 1045 (dead);
0452:10 hrs: SO #2 reported that CW #1 was out of the truck and was OK;
0452:16 hrs: SO #2 repeated that the Complainant was a 1045 as a result of a headshot.

Materials obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the OPP:
  • GPS from the police cruisers being operated by SO #1 and SO #2;
  • Notes of WO #s 1-8;
  • Police Transmissions Communications Recordings;
  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) Event Report;
  • Private Firearm Acquired - CFP; and,
  • Provincial Call Centre (OPP Provincial Communications Centre ">PCC) Communications Summaries (x3).

Analysis and Director's Decision

This unfortunately is another case in which a man with mental health issues (the Complainant), was acting irrationally, which led to the police being called to deal with his conduct. However, the evidence is absolutely clear that within approximately three minutes of subject officer (SO) #2 [1] parking behind the Complainant’s truck, the Complainant shot himself in the head and that SO #2 and SO #1 [2] were in no position to do anything about it. SO #2 was the first of two officers who parked directly behind the Complainant’s truck at the scene of the tragic incident. The Complainant, who had kidnapped civilian witness (CW) #1 [3] and then, when pursued by SO #2, stopped on Tuckers Road. He knew that the police were behind him. At that point, he told CW #1 that he would be imprisoned for 25 years (for what he had done) and he could not go back to jail. He then reached for a rifle he had stashed behind his driver’s seat. Prior to the police being able to have any physical contact with the Complainant, he placed the gun between his legs, despite CW #1’s attempt to stop him, and he pulled the trigger. CW #1 was splattered with the Complainant’s blood and brain matter and she fell, screaming, from the front passenger seat of the car.

The police officers who had followed the Complainant to Tuckers Road were acting within the scope of their legal duties when attempting to arrest the Complainant. Moreover, their only “interaction” with the Complainant was when SO #2 yelled out that the Complainant was under arrest and that he was to get out of the car and lay on the ground. Given the circumstances, SO #2 had every right to issue this directive; nonetheless, before either police officer could say anything else or take any other action, the Complainant shot and killed himself. I find that their conduct did not in any way fall outside of the parameter of what was legally appropriate in the circumstances and cannot provide the basis for believing that any criminal offence occurred, and as a result, no criminal charges will issue.


Date: February 22, 2019



Tony Loparco
Director
Special Investigations Unit

Footnotes

  • 1) The first officer on scene. [Back to text]
  • 2) The second officer on scene. [Back to text]
  • 3) The Complainant had kidnapped her with the intention of having CW #1 take him into the forest in order to shoot him. The Complainant’s suicidal intentions and plan were confirmed by CW #2, the Complainant’s mother, who told WO #6 that in the week previous to the incident, the Complainant had asked both CW #2 and CW #1 to shoot him. CW #2 also told the SIU that the Complainant wanted to be shot in a forest and did not want to live anymore. [Back to text]