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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Toronto Shooting Death

Case Number: 15-TFD-034

Mississauga (28 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 a criminal offence in relation to the shooting death of 49-year-old David Andrew Doucette in February of 2015.

The SIU assigned seven investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, two witness officers and 17 civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer consented to an interview with the SIU and provided a copy of his duty notes.   

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, February 18, 2015:
• Earlier that evening, a resident of a boarding house at 140 Spadina Road invited Mr. Doucette – also a resident of the same boarding house – to his place for a few drinks. At some point, Mr. Doucette took hold of a knife from the residence and started stabbing the other man. The injured man fled his home, yelling at neighbours in the complex to call the police. The man, bleeding profusely from a serious neck wound, made his way outside the building’s front door.
• The subject officer and his partner got the call to attend the scene and hurried in their cruiser to the address where they encountered the injured man on the sidewalk in front of the residence. The man confirmed that he had just been stabbed. The officers were preparing to render first aid when they noticed Mr. Doucette several metres north of their location on the sidewalk.  He was holding a knife in his left hand and slowly walking south in their direction. The subject officer pulled the injured man behind him and drew his firearm, yelling at his partner to remove the injured man from harm’s way.  The subject officer shouted at Mr. Doucette to stop and drop the knife, warning him that he would shoot if he continued to advance. Mr. Doucette continued to move forward. As he neared to within three to five metres of the subject officer, the officer discharged his firearm once in Mr. Doucette’s direction, felling Mr. Doucette.
• The other officer rushed to Mr. Doucette, kicked the knife away from his hand and handcuffed him.

The pathologist at autopsy confirmed that a gunshot wound to the neck was the cause of Mr. Doucette’s death.

Acting Director Martino said, “Pursuant to section 34 of the Criminal Code, a person who uses force that would constitute an offence is shielded from criminal liability if the force was intended to repel a reasonably apprehended assault on one’s person or a third party, and was itself reasonable in the circumstances. The subject officer had every reason to believe that Mr. Doucette was a clear and present danger to his life, and the lives of his partner and a civilian, when he decided to pull the trigger. Arriving at the scene of an injury and faced with a knife-wielding individual mere metres away, there could be little doubt that Mr. Doucette was ready, willing and able to inflict further harm. The officer quickly drew his firearm and gave Mr. Doucette every opportunity to avoid a fatal showdown. Time and again he ordered Mr. Doucette to desist and disarm himself. Recognizing that words were having little effect, the officer continued to weigh his options. He called for an officer with a conducted energy weapon to get to the scene, but the speed with which events were unfolding meant that was not going to be an option. He considered the possibility of retreat, and appears to have taken a few steps back as Mr. Doucette moved toward him, but decided he could not disengage given the violence with which Mr. Doucette had and was continuing to pursue his purpose and the presence of others in the area. As Mr. Doucette continued to close the distance, the subject officer had a decision to make. He could continue to yell at Mr. Doucette to stand-down, hoping his exhortations would finally hit home, or perhaps wait some more and backtrack himself, hoping others in the vicinity would themselves find positions of safety. He dismissed those options and chose instead to stand his ground and discharge his firearm as the only available recourse to preserve himself and protect those around him from a potentially lethal knife attack. In the circumstances that prevailed at the time, I have no hesitation in concluding that the subject officer’s apprehensions and the decision to shoot as Mr. Doucette neared to within three to five metres of the officer were reasonable, and that the officer is therefore entitled to the protection of 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