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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Oakville Shooting Death

Case Number: 14-OFD-241

Mississauga (17 April, 2015) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Halton Regional Police Service officer with a criminal offence in relation to the shooting death of a 41-year-old man in October of 2014.

The SIU assigned eight investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, seven witness officers and five civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer consented to an interview with the SIU and provided a copy of his duty notes. Video footage of the relevant events was obtained and reviewed.
 
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Friday, October 17, 2014:

  • At approximately 5:30 a.m., the subject officer was dispatched to the Monte Carlo Inn (MCI) in Oakville following a call to police about a suicidal male. The man in question had contacted the police and indicated that he was armed with a knife and gun, and wanted to kill himself. 
  • Upon entering the MCI lobby, the plan was for the subject officer to retrieve a key card to the man’s room from the front desk and await further direction. Those plans changed when it became apparent to the officer that the man behind the front desk was, in fact, the man in question. Concerned that the man might be armed, the officer drew his firearm and ordered the man to show his hands. The man refused to remove his right hand from under the front left side of his jacket and instead yelled at the officer to shoot him. The officer, who was joined by another officer, retreated several steps and continued to order the man to show his hands. The man took a step or two backward, and then moved forward quickly in the subject officer’s direction with his hands now raised above his head. The officer discharged five rounds from his firearm, striking the man several times in the torso. The man fell to the ground and was handcuffed.
  • The other officer commenced CPR as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
  • The man died from his wounds shortly thereafter in hospital.

A suicide note was later found in the man’s hotel room.

Director Loparco said, “I am satisfied that the subject officer’s conduct was authorized pursuant to section 34 of the Criminal Code, which deals with force used in the defence of oneself or others. He had reason to believe that the person he engaged in the hotel’s front lobby was the suicidal male because the man identified himself to the officer as such. He also had reason to believe that the man was armed with a knife or gun as indicated by the man in his 911 call to police. It would have also become quickly apparent to the officer that the man was intent on a violent confrontation with the police. He refused to show his right hand, which he kept concealed inside his jacket, and instead repeatedly yelled at the officers to shoot him. These were confined quarters and events were unfolding quickly. It was only about 40 seconds from the subject officer’s arrival in the lobby until the moment shots were fired. Retreat from the lobby altogether was not an option given the officers’ legitimate concerns for the safety of other hotel patrons and staff. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the officer acted reasonably in shooting the man, as the man was no more than four and a half metres away from the officer when he ran at him.”  

Director Loparco continued, “As it turns out, the officer’s apprehensions that his life was in immediate danger and that he could not otherwise preserve himself than by shooting the man were mistaken; the man was in fact unarmed. However, as I am satisfied that the officer’s mistaken belief was a reasonable one to have held in the circumstances, it does not disentitle him to the defence set out in section 34. Given the tension that prevailed at the time and the rapid and dynamic series of events that immediately preceded the shooting, it would be asking too much of the officer that he refrain from taking action until such time as he was assured that the man was, in fact, armed. He simply did not have that luxury. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the common law does not require that the degree of responsive force be measured to a nicety; what is required is a reasonable response, not a perfectly tailored one. For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer exceeded the latitude of permissible force or that his conduct fell afoul of the limits prescribed by section 34 of the Criminal Code.”

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