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News Release

SIU Concludes Death Investigation in Central Frontenac

Case Number: 13-PFD-178

Mississauga (25 February, 2014) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge either of two Ontario Provincial Police officers with the Lanark County detachment with a criminal offence in relation to the death of a 45-year-old man in July of 2013.

The SIU assigned five investigators and two forensic investigators to the incident. As part of the investigation, five witness officers and 10 civilian witnesses were interviewed. One subject officer took part in an SIU interview but did not provide his notes, and the other subject officer declined to provide an interview or his notes to the SIU, as is his legal right.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Thursday, July 25, 2013:

  • At approximately 4:30 p.m., four officers were dispatched to a home on Arden Road to deal with reports of a suicidal male who had indicated that he intended to burn himself to death. They parked their vehicles at the top of a graveled laneway. The officers were armed with service firearms and other use of force options including an ASP baton. One of the officers was carrying a fire extinguisher and another one of the officers was also equipped with a conducted energy weapon (CEW).
  • As the officers descended the laneway toward the man’s trailer, one of the officers called out the man’s name. The man burst out of the front door of the trailer, empty-handed and naked. While screaming and yelling, the man sprinted across to a picnic table, picked up a scoped rifle lying on the table, raised it and pointed it at the officers. The man was ordered to drop his weapon, but would not do so. One of the officers deployed his CEW, but was too far away for it to have any effect. While still holding his rifle, which was pointed at the officers, the man turned around, began walking toward the front porch of his residence, and stopped at the porch stairway. The man did not heed repeated commands to drop his weapon.
  • Two of the officers discharged their firearms, striking the man six times. The man underwent surgery for his injuries at Kingston General Hospital. He died the evening of July 28, 2013 of ‘complications from multiple gunshot wounds’.

Director Loparco said, “In light of the information about his suicide threats the police in this case had a duty to apprehend the man under Section 17 of the Mental Health Act. They properly engaged emergency services to assist them if necessary. Because of information they had about the man’s unpredictability and his hatred of police, one of the officers attended with a CEW and another brought a rifle to the scene.

“The moment the man ran naked screaming and yelling to the picnic table in his yard and picked up his air rifle - which appeared to be a lethal high powered scoped rifle with a flared barrel - and pointed it at the officers, he initiated the sequence of actions that led to his death. One of the subject officers who discharged his service pistol indicated he believed that the man intended to kill him. The other witness officers also indicated a fear of death and helplessness or vulnerability. Objectively, factors which informed the reasonableness of this subjective fear included the following: (1) the loud music at the scene and its secluded location, (2) the man’s alleged proclivity for violence and hatred of the police, (3) the man’s mental state, (4) the man’s pronouncements about committing suicide, (5) the pointing of the rifle at the officers and (6) the rapid speed at which the incident occurred.”

Director Loparco concluded, “Having reviewed all the evidence in its totality I am duty bound to ask: ‘Were the subject officers justified in the use of lethal force in these circumstances?’ I am of the view that they were and accordingly, I have no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers committed a criminal offence in relation to this unfortunate death. His actions put him into a position where the officers had no other recourse than to use deadly force. To do otherwise would have been to put their lives or the lives of their partners at risk.”     

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. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342