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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Toronto Shooting Death

Case Number: 14-TFD-291

Mississauga (18 September, 2015) --- The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Toronto Police Service officer with any criminal offence in relation to the shooting death of 33-year-old Daniel Clause 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. The subject officer consented to an interview with the SIU and provided a copy of his duty notes. Additional evidence gathered by the SIU’s investigation included video recordings from the scene of the robbery and from the incident location, autopsy findings, and forensic analyses of the subject officer’s firearm and a pellet gun recovered by the SIU at the scene. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, December 31, 2014:
• Shortly after midnight, a call came over the police radio alerting officers of an armed robbery that had occurred moments earlier at the Warden Avenue Subway Station. A ticket booth collector had been held-up at gunpoint and forced to hand over money to the assailant, described as a white male wearing a green hooded jacket with a white shirt that hung below the jacket, dark pants and dark running shoes. 
• The subject officer and his partner were among the officers to respond. They travelled in their marked cruiser to an apartment building located at 682 Warden Avenue, approximately half a kilometre south of the subway station, suspecting that the culprit might make his way to that area.
• Pulling into the parking lot southwest of the building, the officers located an individual who fit the description of the robber. The officers exited their cruiser and confronted Mr. Clause. He reacted by pulling up his jacket and retrieving what appeared to be a firearm from the waistband of his pants. The subject officer, who had taken up a position south and east of Mr. Clause, dove to his left through the entrance of a garbage dumpster enclosure as Mr. Clause pointed the gun at him. The other officer, situated north of Mr. Clause, moved to take cover behind the passenger side of the cruiser.
• The two officers, their handguns now drawn and pointed at Mr. Clause, ordered him to stop and drop his weapon. He declined. He taunted the officers and walked west to east toward a common room adjoining the apartment building. The officers grew increasingly concerned for the welfare of persons inside the building as Mr. Clause neared a door to the common room. As he approached the door to within a couple of metres, he raised his gun in the subject officer’s direction. The subject officer discharged his weapon, firing four shots in quick succession and striking Mr. Clause with three of the rounds. Mr. Clause stumbled and fell.
• Two of the bullets entered the right side of his abdomen. The third entered the back of his right shoulder, traveled through his heart and lodged against the left side of the chest. Mr. Clause was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:45 a.m. while in the care of paramedics. 

Acting Director Martino said, “Both officers were lawfully engaged in the execution of their duties when they came upon and confronted Mr. Clause in the parking lot of the apartment building. They were investigating a serious crime that had just taken place and Mr. Clause fit the description of the suspect. The officers had every right to be concerned about their safety. Mr. Clause pulled what appeared to be a gun from his waistband and refused to drop it when directed to do so by the officers. As it turns out, the gun was actually a pellet gun, but the officers would have had no reason to believe it was anything other than a lethal firearm. The officers also harboured legitimate fears for the welfare of persons inside the apartment as Mr. Clause made his way toward the door of the common room. In fact, there was an individual in the room at that very time. Caught between a rock and a hard place – perilously exposed to an armed individual but unable to disengage because of the growing danger the man posed as he neared the apartment building – the subject officer found himself left with very little options when he discharged his weapon four times as Mr. Clause raised his gun in the officer’s direction.”

Acting Director Martino concluded, “It is clear to me on this record that the shooting 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 at issue was reasonable in the circumstances. I have no hesitation in coming to that conclusion with respect to the shooting in question. The subject officer says he shot Mr. Clause fearing for his life and believing it was necessary if he was to preserve himself. In the circumstances that prevailed at the time, I am satisfied that the officer’s apprehensions were reasonable and that he is therefore entitled to the protection of section 34 of the Criminal Code.  Accordingly, there are no grounds in this case for proceeding with criminal charges.”         

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