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SIU Director’s Report - Case # 19-OCD-259

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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 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On November 4, 2019, at 12:45 a.m., the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) notified the SIU of the death of the Complainant.

The HPS reported to the SIU that the Complainant was a suspect in a double-murder that was committed in the City of Hamilton. The Complainant was located at an inn in the City of Brantford shortly before 11:00 p.m. on November 3, 2019.

At 11:15 p.m., members of the HPS Emergency Response Unit (ERU) called out to the Complainant using a loudhailer. At 11:16 p.m., a single gunshot was heard. At 11:28 p.m., the door to the room was breached and a tactical robot entered the room. At 11:41 p.m., ERU officers entered the room, where it was confirmed that the Complainant was deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The Team

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

Complainants

Complainant: 33-year-old male, deceased


Witness Officers

WO Interviewed


Evidence

The Scene

The inn was located in the City of Brantford; the Complainant was associated with a room in the inn. The hallway that led to this room ran east from the front desk area. The room was located on the south side of the hallway. The door was shattered with debris, littering the entrance hall to the unit as well as the main hallway. There were two beds inside the room, in front of the east wall, with a nightstand in between the beds. The body of a deceased male, now known to be the Complainant, was lying on the north bed, on his back, with a Glock 22 .40 calibre pistol under his left hand; a .40 calibre cartridge case was resting on his chest.

Figure 1: The pistol that was found with the Complainant.
Figure 1: The pistol that was found with the Complainant.


A Glock .40 calibre magazine, containing 15 assorted .40 calibre cartridges, was located partially under a pillow.

Figure 2: A view of the magazine and its cartridges.
Figure 2: A view of the magazine and its cartridges.


Upon removing the pistol, it was found to be jammed with a cartridge partially in the breech. The pistol was fitted with a magazine containing 14 assorted .40 calibre cartridges. There was evidence of a gunshot wound under the Complainant’s chin; the projectile appeared to have exited through his neck area and struck the wall above his head. The bullet strike was located on the east wall at 11.5 cm above the headboard. High velocity blood staining was visible on the east wall in the area of the bullet strike. The same projectile travelled through the east wall and entered another room, where it was located on the floor. A bullet strike was located in this second room, on the east wall, 172.5 cm above the floor.

Other items located inside the Complainant’s room included large amounts of Canadian currency, along with a small green duffle bag, and a backpack containing a large quantity of illicit drugs.

Forensic Evidence


Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) Submissions and Results


The Glock model 22 .40 calibre pistol and a spent brass .40 calibre cartridge case were submitted to the CFS for forensic examination to determine whether it came from the Complainant’s pistol.

The CFS concluded that the cartridge case had been fired by the pistol.

Materials obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the HPS:
  • General Report discussing the Complainant’s alleged criminal activities;
  • Notes of the WO (ERU);
  • Supplementary Report discussing the Complainant’s alleged criminal activities; and
  • Supplementary Report discussing the Complainant’s death.

Materials obtained from Other Sources

The following material and documents were supplied by the inn’s manager:
  • Surveillance Video Recordings; and
  • Night Auditor Report.

Incident Narrative

On November 3, 2019, the HPS ERU was called out to an inn in the City of Brantford in regard to a man, the Complainant, who was believed to be inside the inn. The Complainant was wanted in relation to a double homicide investigation. Upon arrival of the ERU at the inn, a plan was formulated to approach and enter the room where the Complainant was believed to be staying. The ERU was under the supervision of the WO.

At 11:15 p.m., after evacuating other guests at the inn and containing the scene, a member of the ERU attempted to contact the Complainant by use of a loudhailer, but there was no response from within the Complainant’s room. The officer repeatedly used the loudhailer to direct the Complainant to exit his room and surrender himself to police. At 11:16 p.m., a single gunshot was heard coming from within the room. The first entry into the room by police occurred at 11:42 p.m. It was determined that it was safe to do so; a robot had been sent in ahead of the officers and located the Complainant’s body lying motionless on the bed.

Upon entering the room, police officers discovered the Complainant to be vital signs absent on the bed with a bullet entry wound under his chin and a handgun under his left hand.

Cause of Death


A post-mortem examination performed on the Complainant’s body on November 11, 2019 determined the cause of death to have been a contact, perforating (through-and-through) gunshot wound to the head.

Relevant Legislation

Section 220, Criminal Code -- Causing death by criminal negligence 

220 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 has to be considered in this case is that of criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. This offence is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. The evidence establishes that the Complainant, who was wanted in respect of a double-murder, was in an inn room with a loaded firearm. When a police officer used a loudhailer to direct the Complainant to exit the room and surrender to police, the Complainant opted instead to take his own life.

Whether the Complainant had intended to take his own life prior to the arrival of police, or whether he decided to do so only after he became aware of the presence of police, is unknown. What is clear, however, is that no police officer was in his room at the time of the shooting, nor did any police officer discharge a firearm at any time.

While the impetus for the Complainant’s taking his own life may well have been the fact that he had been discovered by police, that does not weigh against the involved police officers, who were clearly carrying out their lawful duties in attending and potentially arresting an alleged double-murderer. It was the Complainant himself, acting of his own accord, who chose to end his life rather than to face the police. It appears, on all of the evidence, that the WO and the members of the WO’s team acted with prudence and exercised all due care and caution in not entering the Complainant’s room until all members of the public had been removed from harm’s way, and only then, after the tactical robot had established that the Complainant did not pose a threat to the police officers present, entering the Complainant’s room.

On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the WO, or any member of the WO’s team, caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death by any want of care. Accordingly, there are no reasonable grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: April 20, 2020
Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Director
Special Investigations Unit