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News Release

SIU Finds Toronto Shooting “not outside limits of the law” in Takedown following Earlier Shooting

Case Number: 15-TFI-072

Mississauga (29 January, 2016) ---
A Toronto Police officer who shot a man following another shooting not long before the confrontation “did not exceed the bounds of legally justifiable force”, according to the Director of the Special Investigations Unit.

As a result, SIU Director Tony Loparco found there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, which occurred early in the evening of April 16, 2015. 

The investigation of this incident included statements from other officers on scene, the accounts of civilian residents in the area, police radio communications, results of DNA testing and other forensic examinations, and video recordings captured by the surveillance cameras at a nearby address on Elmhurst Drive and from a witness’s cell phone.  The subject officer did not provide duty notes or agree to an interview, as is his legal right.

The SIU assigned eight investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.

The investigation found the following:
  • Around 6:00 p.m. on April 16, 2015, Toronto Police officers were in the Driftwood Avenue and Jane Street area when they heard gunshots and spotted several men getting into a dark coloured car and flee the scene.
  • The car was tracked to Elmhurst Drive and Cromarty Drive, where officers boxed in the vehicle and attempted to arrest four men.
  • The driver and two passengers who fled from the vehicle were arrested without incident.  A fourth man who also fled the vehicle encountered the subject officer on the front lawn of 124 Elmhurst Drive, where he was shot twice  by the subject officer.
  • The man was transported to hospital for gunshot injuries to his right elbow, chest, and back.
  • A firearm was located in the yard of the home at 124 Elmhurst Drive near the man who was shot. Another gun was found in the driveway of 126 Elmhurst and a third gun was located near the dark coloured vehicle from which the men had fled.  

Director Loparco said, “There is no question that the officers were acting lawfully in deciding to stop the vehicle and arrest its occupants.  They had good reason to believe that the man and his associates were involved in the Driftwood Avenue shooting, having seen them run from the scene into a car with a waiting driver.

“There is also very little doubt on the evidence that the subject officer did not exceed the bounds of legally justifiable force when he discharged his firearm.  I am satisfied he would have been fearful for his life at the time of his firearm discharges.  The officer would have had every reason to believe that the man had just been involved in a shooting and was armed with a firearm and prepared to use it.  

“Utterances made by the subject officer around the time of the shooting, and heard by other officers, to the effect that the man had a gun, that the officer directed him to drop it and that the officer fired his weapon fearing for his life, suggest as much.  The timing and circumstances surrounding the officer’s utterances, including most importantly the location of a Colt 1911firearm in the same yard where the shooting occurred and in proximity of the injured party, lend credibility to their authenticity.  

“I am also satisfied that the officer’s fear and the shooting it prompted were reasonable in the circumstances.  As the security camera recordings vividly make clear, the situation that confronted the officer was volatile, rapidly evolving and fraught with danger.  I am unable on this record to conclude that his decision to resort to his firearm, made in the heat of the moment with little time to react, was without objective justification.  In the final analysis, therefore, whether pursuant to sections 25(3) or 34 of the Criminal Code, authorizing within limits the use of force in the execution of an officer’s duty and self-defence, respectively, there is insufficient evidence in my view to reasonably conclude that the shooting fell afoul of the latitude prescribed by the criminal law.  Accordingly, I am satisfied there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal 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. 

Jason Gennaro, jason.gennaro@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-641-1897 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 1897