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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation in Aurora Firearm Death

Case Number: 14-OFD-086

Mississauga (14 July, 2014) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer with the York Regional Police (YRP) with a criminal offence in relation to the death of a 21-year-old man in April of 2014.

The SIU assigned five investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, 12 witness officers and 10 civilian witnesses were interviewed.  One officer was designated as a subject officer. He did not interview with the SIU or provide a copy of his notes, as is his legal right. The SIU also obtained and reviewed materials from the YRP, including a copy of the computer aided dispatch report and in-car camera video recordings from three police vehicles at the scene.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on April 12 and April 13, 2014: 
  • At approximately 8:48 p.m. on April 12, 2014, YRP received a 911 call from a male reporting that he had just observed another man shoot a girl and her mother in the vicinity of State Farm Way and Leslie Street.  
  • The 911 caller was, in fact, the 21-year-old man.  The reported shooting of the girl and her mother did not occur.  
  • At 8:53 p.m. the first officer arrived at the scene. While proceeding eastbound on State Farm Way just east of Leslie Street, he spotted the man coming from across the street with what appeared to be a gun in his right hand. [Unknown to the officers at the time, the man was not wielding a firearm.  It was actually a pellet gun.]  
  • The officer made a U-turn to confront the man. 
  • The man approached the officer as the officer brought his vehicle to a stop facing northwest in the westbound lanes of State Farm Way. 
  • The officer radioed that he was on scene with an armed male.  He exited his vehicle, drew his firearm and repeatedly ordered the man to drop his weapon and get on the ground.  
  • The man did not stop and began to pursue the officer around the police vehicle, with the gun pointed at the officer.  
  • A second officer arrived at the scene and saw the officer being chased around the police vehicle by the armed man. 
  • This second officer stopped his vehicle west of the first officer’s vehicle, exited and also ordered the man to stop, drop his weapon and get on the ground. 
  • The man turned his attention to this second officer.  He pointed his gun at the officer and began to advance in his direction, prompting the officer to re-enter his vehicle and reverse westward into the intersection with Leslie Street. 
  • Just as the man was making his way toward the second officer, two additional officers arrived in marked police SUVs.  The third officer parked his vehicle in the northbound curb lane of Leslie Street at the south end of the intersection with State Farm Way.  The fourth officer (the subject officer) brought his SUV to a stop in the northbound through lane just west of the other police SUV and slightly behind it. 
  • The third officer and the subject officer exited their vehicles, drew their weapons and repeatedly ordered the man to drop his gun. The third officer was armed with a shotgun and the subject officer was armed with a rifle.
  • The man again changed course, turned left and made his way toward the third officer and the subject officer, with the gun raised in his right hand and pointed at the officers. 
  • He did not comply with the officers’ commands to stop. When he neared to about a car’s length of their position, both officers discharged their firearms.  
  • The man was struck and fell to the ground. 
  • The time was approximately 8:55 p.m., seven minutes from the time the man placed his initial 911 call and less than two minutes from the arrival of the first officer on the scene. 
  • The man was transported by ambulance to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where he was pronounced dead on April 13, 2014 at 2:41 a.m. 
Director Loparco said, “I am satisfied that the two officers who discharged their weapons reasonably believed that their lives were in danger and that a resort to lethal force was necessary to preserve themselves.  As it turns out, the man was not wielding a firearm during the incident.  It was actually a pellet gun.  However, the officers cannot be faulted for having perceived the object as a legitimate firearm.  Its red tipped barrel and clear slide had been painted black and made to look like an authentic gun.  When the man neared the officers’ position at the southeast corner of the State Farm Way and Leslie Street intersection, his right arm raised and “gun” pointed in their direction, they had every reason to believe their lives were in imminent risk.  Having ignored multiple calls to stop and drop his weapon, the officers were well within their rights to shoot as the man neared to within a car’s length of their location.”

Director Loparco concluded, “In the final analysis, whether pursuant to sections 25(3) of the Criminal Code, authorizing lethal force in the execution of an officer’s duty, or 34 of the Code, authorizing force in self-defence, it is clear that the shooting in question was legally justified and that, therefore, there are no grounds 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. 

Jasbir Dhillon, jasbir.dhillon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342