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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Scarborough Shooting Injuries

Case Number: 14-TFI-284

Mississauga (20 August, 2015) --- The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any Toronto Police Service officer with a criminal offence in relation to the shooting injuries sustained by a 40-year-old man in December of 2014.

The SIU assigned eight investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, six witness officers and 14 civilian witnesses were interviewed. Both subject officers consented to an interview with the SIU, and both provided a copy of their duty notes. The SIU recovered a knife from the scene, had a forensic examination conducted of the firearms used by the officers and the bullet cases that were ejected, and accessed video recordings by several in-cruiser cameras and a Walmart security camera. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Thursday, December 18, 2014:
• In the afternoon hours, the man – a 40-year-old Walmart employee – met with store loss prevention investigators to discuss his suspected theft of items from the store. Distraught at the prospect of losing his job and possibly going to jail, the man asked for a moment to compose himself and left the meeting to go to the washroom. Instead, he made his way to his vehicle in the parking lot and entered the passenger side. 
• The man retrieved a knife from his vehicle, with a black handle 13 centimetres long and a blade about the same length, and started cutting his throat and wrists. Realizing what was happening, one of the loss prevention investigators called 911 and reported that the man was cutting himself. The investigator confronted the man, who had exited his vehicle and was standing next to the railing of the ramp to the loading bay at the rear of the store, and implored him to stop what he was doing.  He ignored her and kept inflicting damage on himself with the knife. 
• Multiple officers made their way to the scene. The subject officers, the first to arrive in their police cruiser, exited their vehicle and started to walk toward the man. The man was unresponsive as the officers attempted to engage him in conversation. The officers got to within three or four metres of the man before they stopped and backed away as the man began to walk toward them, knife in hand and pointed in their direction. The officers drew their firearms and pointed them at the man as they continued to move away while shouting at him to drop the knife. The man was not deterred and continued to advance upon the officers.
• As the man neared to within three or four metres of the officers, he was shot once by one subject officer and twice by the other subject officer. The bullets caused wounds to the man’s torso and right thigh. He was transported to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for treatment. 

Acting Director Martino said, “It is clear to me that the subject officers’ conduct fell within the confines of section 34 of the Criminal Code. That section provides a legal justification for force used in self-defence or the defence of others where the force in question was reasonable in the circumstances. I have no hesitation in coming to that conclusion with respect to the shooting in this case. Both officers were in the lawful discharge of their duties when they responded to the scene and confronted the man. They first tried to defuse the situation by talking to him, but that option was quickly foreclosed when he produced a knife and started walking toward the officers. Their next course was to draw their firearms but walk away from the man, creating some distance between them while directing that he stop and drop the knife. The man failed to do so. Their final, and only recourse I am satisfied, was to discharge their firearms as he continued to close the distance.”

Acting Director Martino continued, “A full retreat and disengagement from the man was simply not an option given the presence of other persons in the area and the threat posed by an armed individual. The officers indicated in their SIU interviews that they fired fearing for their lives and the lives of each other.  They believed they had no other choice if they were to avert a knife attack by the man. The officers’ apprehensions, in my view, were well-founded.  Indeed, this was precisely the man’s intention; he very purposefully approached the officers with the knife in a menacing fashion hoping they would shoot him. In the circumstances, I am satisfied both officers acted reasonably when they discharged their firearms at the man, and that there are therefore no grounds for proceeding 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. 

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