SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OFP-268


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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 section 14 (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 by the police at a 22-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On July 14, 2023, at 5:56 a.m., Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.

HRPS officers were called to a residence in Oakville regarding an ongoing family dispute and a mental health issue with the Complainant. HRPS officers arrived, the situation changed to a barricaded person, and the HRPS Tactical Rescue Unit (TRU) was deployed. After some time, an Anti-riot Weapon Enfield (ARWEN) was discharged and the Complainant was struck.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 2023/07/14 at 6:09 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 2023/07/14 at 8:30 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

22-year-old male; interviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on July 27, 2023.

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed on July 14, 2023.

Subject Official (SO)

SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Not interviewed; notes reviewed, and interview deemed not necessary

The witness officials were interviewed between July 14 and 20, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired in and around a residence in Oakville. Of particular interest were the front porch, front foyer and living room of the home.

The front door glass was broken and the door had been forced open. A window in the living room was broken. There were four ARWEN cartridge cases on and around the front porch outside the broken window. There was an ARWEN cartridge case on the front porch outside the front door and another on the floor of the foyer just inside the front door. There were two ARWEN projectiles in the living room and two ARWEN projectiles in the dining room. There was an ARWEN projectile in the foyer and another at the rear of the house beyond the foyer. There was conducted energy weapon (CEW) wire coming from the broken window into the living room extending towards the dining room. There were CEW probes and Anti-felon Identification Disks (AFIDs) on the foyer floor. There was a knife sticking in the side of the doorway from the foyer into the dining room. There was a can of bear spray on the foyer floor. There was a cellular phone on the floor of the foyer. There was blood in numerous droplets all over the floor of the foyer with a trail of blood leading from or to the rear of the house. There was a broken interior door windowpane. There was a trail of blood up the stairs with an accumulation of blood on the floor outside a bedroom door.

The scene was photographed.

Physical Evidence

The following items were collected by the SIU in the course of the investigation:
  1.  Exhibits # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - ARWEN cartridge cases;
  2.  Exhibits # 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 - ARWEN projectiles;
  3.  Exhibits # 13 - CEW probes;
  4.  Exhibit # 14 - CEW probes and AFIDs;
  5.  Exhibits # 15 - knife;
  6.  Exhibit # 16 - bear spray;
  7.  Exhibits # 17 - cellular phone; and
  8. ARWEN Model 37 rifle.

Figure 1 – ARWEN rifle

Figure 1 – ARWEN rifle

Figure 2 – ARWEN projectile

Figure 2 – ARWEN projectile

Forensic Evidence

CEW Deployment Data

WO #1 CEW was discharged on July 14, 2023, at 4:16:05 a.m. [2]

WO #4’s CEW was discharged on July 14, 2023, at 4:16:12 a.m., and again at 4:16:15 a.m., 4:16:28 a.m., and 4:16:33 a.m.

WO #2’s CEW was discharged on July 14, 2023, at 4:16:21 a.m.

WO #3’s CEW was discharged on July 14, 2023, at 4:16:06 a.m., and again at 4:16:10 a.m.

WO #5’s CEW was deployed on July 14, 2023, at 4:16:26 a.m., safe back on at 4:17:01 a.m.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [3]

911 Call

On July 14, 2023, a woman called 911 to request an ambulance at a residence in Oakville. She advised that the Complainant was having a mental health crisis. She could be heard yelling, “Run, run, run, get in the car.” She told the dispatcher that she was in the car and was trying to leave the residence. The caller had gone into the house to get a family member out. The Complainant had a history of mental health breakdowns. She last saw him coming down the stairs with a knife and bear spray in his hands. He did not recognize her and could not communicate with her. The caller believed her parents were hiding in a room on the main floor.

Radio Communications and Event Chronology

At 9:17 p.m., July 13, 2023, police received a call that the Complainant was holding a knife.
At 9:43 p.m., the caller had left the house.
At 9:56 p.m., the Complainant was reported to have coyote spray in his hands.
At 10:07 p.m., the Complainant had come towards someone with the knife.
At 11:07 p.m., it was noted that there were two parents in the house.
At 12:08 a.m., July 14, 2023, it was noted that, in a prior incident involving the Complainant, it had taken multiple police officers to take him into custody.
At 12:13 a.m., it was reported that the Complainant was very incoherent and had a “wild look” in his eyes.
At 12:13:37 a.m., the Complainant was reported as still in the residence.
At 12:16:01 a.m., it was noted that the Complainant was inside with his parents.
At 12:16:36 a.m., it was reported that the Complainant might attempt to break an interior glass door.
At 12:16:45 a.m., police officers were going to the backyard for containment.
At 12:18:16 a.m., the Complainant was reported as going out the back.
At 12:18:37 a.m., the Complainant was reported as returning into the house with a knife in his hand.
At 12:19:47 a.m., there was a verbal command that the Complainant drop the knife; he did not comply.
At 12:20:10 a.m., everyone was out of the house and the Complainant was inside by himself.
At 12:22:01 a.m., the Complainant’s family member advised that the Complainant was in psychosis.
At 12:25:12 a.m., the Complainant was in the kitchen with a knife in his hand.
At 12:27:36 a.m., it was confirmed that the Complainant had a knife in one hand and a can in the other.
At 12:28:10 a.m., the Complainant was pacing.
At 12:30:50 a.m., the Complainant’s hand was covered in blood.
At 12:36:02 a.m., the Complainant was in the kitchen close to the front door.
At 1:50:23 a.m., the Complainant was still armed with a knife and bear spray.
At 3:24:19 a.m., police made several call-outs with no response.
At 3:28:24 a.m., it was noted that the Complainant appeared to be in complete psychosis. He still had the knife and bear spray.
At 4:13: 50 a.m., possible ARWEN discharges were reported.
At 4:15:03 a.m., it was reported that there had been no reaction to the ARWEN discharges.
At 4:17:40 a.m., it was reported that multiple CEWs had been deployed.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the HRPS between July 14 and 25, 2023:
  • Radio communications;
  • Event Chronology;
  • General Report;
  • Arrest Report;
  • List of Involved Police Officers;
  • Training records;
  • TRU Platoon Roster;
  • Platoon Roster;
  • Scene photographs;
  • CEW data;
  • Notes – WO #7;
  • Notes – WO #6;
  • Notes – WO #1;
  • Notes – WO #2;
  • Notes – WO #4;
  • Notes – WO #3;
  • Notes – WO #5;
  • Policy - Use of Force; and
  • Policy - Dealing with People in Crisis.

Incident Narrative

The evidence gathered by the SIU, including interviews with officers that took part in the police operations culminating in the Complainant’s apprehension, gives rise to the following scenario. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the evening of July 13, 2023, HRPS officers were dispatched to a house in Oakville. Members of the Complainant’s family had called 911 reporting concern for the welfare of the Complainant. The Complainant was in mental health crisis. When he took possession of a knife and bear spray, the other members of the family fled the residence.

Uniformed officers arrived and confronted the Complainant. As he still had possession of the weapons, they withdrew and set up containment around the house. Efforts to communicate with the Complainant were to no avail.

The HRPS TRU team was mobilized and gathered at the residence, taking charge of the police presence outside the home. They too attempted to reach the Complainant via phone, social media, and loud hailer. They called-out to the Complainant directing him to exit the house without any weapons and assuring him they were there to help. From positions outside the home, officers made observations of the Complainant. He paced around the house and continued to carry the knife and bear spray.

At about 2:45 a.m., July 14, 2023, the critical incident commander – WO #6 – authorized the TRU entry into the home following consultations with a forensic psychiatrist. When a key to the front door that had been provided police by the Complainant’s family failed to work, TRU officers forced open the front door. Several metres into the home, officers observed the Complainant still holding the knife and bear spray. The officers maintained their distance from outside the home and watched as the Complainant moved into the living room.

At about 4:10 a.m., the window at the front of the home was smashed open by police. The SO, a member of TRU, discharged his ARWEN several times through the window at the Complainant. The rounds struck the Complainant but seemed to have little effect. He moved out of the living room. TRU officers entered the house and confronted the Complainant, at about the same time as the SO fired another volley of shots from his ARWEN. WO #1, the TRU commander, fired his CEW at the Complainant, after which the Complainant fell to the floor. Additional officers arrived and, following more CEW discharges, the Complainant was taken into custody. The time was about 4:17 a.m.

The Complainant was removed from the scene in ambulance and taken to hospital.

Relevant Legislation

Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority

25 (1) Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law
(a) as a private person,
(b) as a peace officer or public officer,
(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or
(d) by virtue of his office,
is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On July 14, 2023, the HRPS contacted the SIU to report that one of their officers had earlier that day fired an ARWEN at a person – the Complainant. The officer – the SO – was identified in the ensuing SIU investigation of the incident as the subject official. The investigation is now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the use of his ARWEN.

Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were required or authorized to do by law.

The Complainant was subject to apprehension under the Criminal Code and the Mental Health Act by the time of the SO’s ARWEN discharges. While of unsound mind brought about by mental illness, he had brandished a knife and bear spray at his parents, and cut himself while punching a glass door.
With respect to the force used by the SO in aid of the Complainant’s arrest, namely, six ARWEN discharges delivered in two volleys, I am satisfied that it was legally justified. The officer would have known that the Complainant had been seen with a knife and bear spray. He would also have known that the Complainant had earlier threatened his parents with the weapons and there was concern that he might engage in self-harm. It appears the SO acted reasonably when he attempted to temporarily incapacitate the Complainant from a safe distance with his ARWEN. Had the ARWEN worked as designed, the pain caused by impact would have sufficiently distracted the Complainant allowing for other officers to safely approach and restrain him. The second volley, when the first did not work, can be justified for similar reasons. At the time, the officers would still have been concerned that the Complainant had access to the knife and bear spray. In the circumstances, they were within their rights in attempting to momentarily neutralize the Complainant before approaching and potentially placing themselves in harm’s way. The fact that the further ARWEN rounds failed to fell the Complainant, which only happened after a CEW discharge, is further indication that the SO did not act with excess when he fired his weapon.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to conclude that the SO comported himself other than within the limits of the criminal law when he fired his ARWEN, there is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: November 10, 2023

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The information in this section reflects the information received by the SIU at the time of notification and does not necessarily reflect the SIU’s finding of facts following its investigation. [Back to text]
  • 2) The CEW times are derived from the internal clocks of the weapons, and are not necessarily synchronous between weapons and with actual time. [Back to text]
  • 3) 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.