SIU Concludes Investigation in Shooting Death in Ajax
Case Number: 13-OFD-293
Mississauga (3 June, 2014) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) officer with a criminal offence in connection with the shooting and death of 47-year-old Michael MacIsaac on December 2 and 3, 2013, respectively.
The SIU assigned 13 investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, five witness officers and 17 civilian witnesses were interviewed. One subject officer was also designated. He consented to be interviewed but did not provide a copy of his notes, as is his legal right. Physical exhibits were gathered from the scene and examined, as were a number of video clips taken by a witness with his phone of parts of the incident before and after the shooting in question.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place:
- On the morning of December 2, 2013, Mr. MacIsaac left his residence unclothed after reportedly having physically confronted his spouse and sister-in-law, prompting a call to police.
- In the minutes that followed, the DRPS received additional calls from citizens reporting a male (Mr. MacIsaac) running and walking naked in the neighbourhood.
- Mr. MacIsaac eventually made his way onto Dring Street where he confronted three separate motorists. He approached the driver’s side door of a male motorist’s pickup truck and banged forcefully at the window. He then went to a female motorist in the area, pounding on the hood of her vehicle and the driver’s door window. He did the same to another female motorist, who was in her vehicle parked in her driveway having just returned to her home on Dring Street. This motorist drove away as Mr. MacIsaac approached her with a rock retrieved from a rock garden. Mr. MacIsaac proceeded onto the front porch of her home, picked up a patio table and used it to strike the front door. The table broke and Mr. MacIsaac was left holding two of its legs.
- At around this time, the subject officer and two witness officers arrived at the scene and were directed by the male motorist towards Mr. MacIsaac.
- The subject officer exited his vehicle and was making his way to the rear driver’s side when he saw Mr. MacIsaac approaching him holding one of the metal table legs in a threatening fashion.
- The officer drew his firearm, pointed it at Mr. MacIsaac and ordered him to stop and drop the weapon. Mr. MacIsaac continued to advance towards the officer, prompting the subject officer to shoot twice.
- Mr. MacIsaac was felled by the shots and restrained by the two witness officers, who proceeded to administer first aid until paramedics arrived.
- Mr. MacIsaac was transported to Rouge Valley Hospital and then airlifted to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto where he succumbed to his injuries on December 3, 2013.
Director Loparco said, “Narrowing in on the circumstances that immediately prevailed at the time of the shooting, Mr. MacIsaac was moving in the officer’s direction brandishing a metal patio table leg measuring about a metre in length. This is consistent with descriptions provided by a number of civilian witnesses and officers. The evidence also indicates that Mr. MacIsaac was in close proximity to the subject officer at the time that the officer discharged his firearm. This distance is variously described by the witnesses within a range of about five to seven feet. A short video clip taken by one of the eyewitnesses of what appears to be the immediate aftermath of the shooting depicts the subject officer within the range described by witnesses.”
Director Loparco continued, “In the final analysis, the subject officer was in the lawful discharge of his duties when he was confronted by Mr. MacIsaac, armed with a metal table leg approximately one metre in length who was not complying with commands to stop and drop his weapon. In the circumstances, the officer’s fear for his life seems a reasonable one to have harboured, as was his belief that lethal force was necessary to preserve himself. Consequently, whether pursuant to section 25(3) (outlining justifiable force by police officers in the discharge of their duty) or section 34 (setting out the defence of self-defence) of the Criminal Code of Canada, I am satisfied the shooting in question was legally justified. Accordingly, there are no reasonable grounds, in my view, to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the shooting and death of Michael MacIsaac.”
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342