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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Fatal Markham Shooting

Case Number: 05-OFD-162

TORONTO (9 December, 2005) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has determined that a York Regional Police Service (YRPS) officer was legally justified in shooting Jeffrey Black on October 18, 2005.

The officer, who was the subject of the SIU investigation, fatally shot Mr. Black during a confrontation at an industrial complex in the area of 30 Alden Road in Markham.

Seven SIU investigators were assigned to independently probe the circumstances of the shooting. As part of the investigation, forensic identification technicians documented the scene and gathered evidentiary items such as bloodstain samples, two spent shell cases, a silver metal knife and pieces of clothing. Investigators interviewed 12 police and civilian witnesses and reviewed police reports.

The investigation revealed two YRPS officers responded to an alarm call on Denison Street at 11:43 p.m. The officers were checking the premises when they saw a suspicious dark coloured van with no lights on. The officers followed the van as it drove out of the parking lot and accelerated onto Esna Park Drive. At the intersection of Esna Park Drive and Alden Road, the van struck another van that had entered the intersection.

Three men got out of the van and fled on foot. One officer followed two men who fled in one direction. One man was arrested and the subject officer chased after Mr. Black who ran behind the industrial compound.

The officer caught up to Mr. Black in a parking lot. He told Mr. Black he was under arrest and ordered him to show his hands. The officer had his firearm out for protection and holstered it when he realized Mr. Black was cornered between storage trailers. When the officer moved in to take physical control, Mr. Black started striking and punching the officer in his chest area. After being struck several times, the officer realized Mr. Black was armed with a knife and had been stabbing him on his bulletproof vest. As the officer tried to grab Mr. Black's hand, he stabbed the officer on the top of his head. Mr. Black then pulled away and dared the officer to shoot him. The officer drew his firearm and pepper sprayed Mr. Black with no effect.

In the meantime, an YRPS helicopter arrived and illuminated the officer and Mr. Black. The officer on board the helicopter asked for a police unit to come to 30 Alden Road to check out the two people.

A second officer arrived to the area to find Mr. Black moving towards the subject officer. The officer had his firearm drawn and pointed at Mr. Black. When the subject officer called out the man had a knife, Mr. Black lunged toward the second officer and brought the knife down in a stabbing motion. The subject officer fired twice at Mr. Black, striking him in the abdomen.

Mr. Black was transported to hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The subject officer was treated for a superficial laceration to the top of his head.

Director Cornish concluded the subject officer showed a keen awareness of his duties as a police officer and adjusted his choices of force options appropriately. He stated, "It was only when the officer reasonably believed that Mr. Black was about to kill or seriously injure another officer that he felt he had no choice but to shoot Mr. Black."

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342