SIU Concludes Investigation in Oakville Shooting Death
Case Number: 13-OFD-276
Other News Releases Related to Case 13-OFD-276
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any officer with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) with a criminal offence in relation to the death of a 22-year-old man in November of 2013.
The SIU assigned seven investigators and four forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, eight witness officers and 17 civilian witnesses were interviewed. Five officers were designated as subject officers. Of them, one consented to be interviewed but did not provide a copy of his notes, and the others declined to provide a statement or a copy of their notes to the SIU, as is their legal right. The SIU also obtained and reviewed a copy of the HRPS radio and telephone communication recordings, the subject officers’ use of force training records and a copy of text messages the man sent to his mother.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on November 17 and 18, 2013:
- At approximately 10:00 p.m. on November 17, 2013, the man sat in the driver’s seat of his Kia Amanti, in front of his parents’ residence on Oak Springs Road in Oakville.
- He called his father and told him that he had a gun and asked his parents to call the police.
- Concerned for their son, his parents called the police.
- Two officers responded to the residence. Upon their arrival they were informed that the man had left the scene and they were pointed in the direction that he had driven away.
- The officers located the man’s Kia at the intersection of Oak Springs Road and Upper Middle Road where he had pulled into the driveway of a residence on the northwest corner.
- One of the officers positioned his cruiser behind the man’s vehicle to prevent him from reversing away.
- Additional officers arriving at the scene blocked the intersection of Oak Springs Road and Upper Middle Road and the intersection of Oak Springs Road and Banbury Crescent to prevent traffic from entering the scene.
- The officers were aware that the man was reported to have a gun.
- Their guns drawn and pointed at the Kia, the officers surrounded the car from various positions of cover and tried to convince the man to surrender himself.
- An officer positioned immediately behind the man’s vehicle repeatedly ordered the man out of the vehicle using his cruiser’s loudspeaker.
- At approximately 11:10 p.m., the man exited his vehicle holding what appeared to be a black handgun in his right hand and pointed it at his head.
- He walked southward toward the officers positioned at the Oak Springs and Upper Middle Roads intersection and stopped. The officers raised their firearms and repeatedly ordered him to drop the weapon.
- The man did not comply and instead turned back to his vehicle and got into the driver’s seat.
- The officers again attempted to communicate with him.
- At about 11:45 p.m., the man sent his mother a text message indicating that he was “ready to go”.
- At about this time, officers with the HRPS Tactical Response Unit (TRU) arrived on scene and were exiting their vehicle at the northeast corner of the Oak Springs and Upper Middle Road intersection.
- Shortly thereafter, the man again exited his vehicle. With the gun in hand, he walked toward the TRU and uniform patrol officers positioned at the intersection of Upper Middle Road and Oak Springs Road.
- He did not obey the officers’ commands to stop and drop his weapon but proceeded to raise the gun in their direction.
- Five officers almost simultaneously discharged their weapons striking him in the chest, right arm and face. Officers began first aid pending the arrival of paramedics.
- The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:12 a.m. on November 18, 2013.
Director Loparco said, “As it turns out, the “gun” in the man’s possession was a pellet gun. However, the officers cannot be faulted for believing it was a real handgun. They had been told the man was armed with a gun and they also observed him holding what closely resembled a 9 mm handgun. In the circumstances, faced with what they reasonably believed was an imminent threat to their lives when the man pointed the “gun” in their direction, I am satisfied that the officers harboured a reasonable belief that they could not otherwise protect themselves and those around them other than by a resort to lethal force.”
Director Loparco continued, “The involved officers appear to have done everything in their power to resolve the situation peacefully. They spoke with the man for about an hour in an attempt to convince him to surrender, showing patience throughout the tense standoff. The officers also took measures to ensure the residents in the neighbourhood and passing traffic were not placed at risk. And they showed great restraint when the man first emerged from his vehicle holding the gun in hand. It is telling that the TRU and uniform patrol officers who discharged their firearms were the ones positioned south of the man in the area of Upper Middle Road – the direction in which he had walked and pointed his weapon. I am also not surprised by the total number of shots that were fired – in the neighbourhood of 17 rounds. It is important to note that they were fired by multiple officers in quick succession, each of whom would have had an independent and simultaneous perception of the threat and the need to take immediate action.”
Director Loparco concluded, “In the final analysis, whether pursuant to section 25(3) of the Criminal Code (prescribing the use of lethal force by officers in the discharge of their duties) or section 34 of the Code (justifying the use of force in defence of oneself or others), it is clear to me that the subject officers’ use of force was legally justified and that there is therefore no basis to proceed with charges in this case.”
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.
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342