Investigation Finds No Grounds for Criminal Charges in Fatal Shooting of Andrew Loku
(18 March, 2016) ---
The Toronto Police Officer who fatally shot 45-year-old Andrew Loku did not exceed “the ambit of justifiable force in the circumstances” and no criminal charges will issue, the Director the Special Investigations Unit has determined.
The SIU assigned three investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.
The subject officer in this investigation participated in an SIU interview and also provided a copy of his duty notes.
Further evidence gathered in this investigation included the results of a forensic scene examination, the results of an autopsy and toxicology tests, the police recordings of a 911 call, a partial video of the scene, and the statements of several eyewitnesses to the shooting.
The investigation found the following:
- Around midnight on July 5, 2015, Toronto Police received a 911 call from a guest in a third floor apartment at 502 Gilbert Avenue, indicating that Mr. Loku was armed with a hammer, threatening to kill her friend, and refusing to leave their apartment.
- Moments later, the subject officer and a second officer, entered the building and confronted Mr. Loku in the third floor hallway.
- Guns drawn and pointed at Mr. Loku, the officers took up positions at the east side of the hallway just past the doorway from the stairwell, some eight to nine metres away from Mr. Loku.
- They ordered Mr. Loku to stop and drop the hammer and repeated the order several times as Mr. Loku began to walk in their direction.
- Mr. Loku continued his forward progress while stating, “What you gonna do, come on, shoot me”.
- As he approached, Mr. Loku raised the hammer above his head. He was shot twice when he was within two to three metres of the subject officer’s position.
- A postmortem confirmed the cause of death to be gunshot wounds to the left chest.
SIU Director Tony Loparco said, “Pursuant to section 25(3) of the Criminal Code, an officer’s use of lethal force in the execution of duty is limited to those cases in which such force is reasonably necessary to protect against a loss of life or grievous bodily harm. Section 34 also prescribes the amount of force that may be used in self-defence or the defence of others, but is more general in application. Pursuant to the provision, any person may use defensive force provided the force used is reasonable in all the circumstances.
“Both responding officers repeatedly directed Mr. Loku to drop the hammer and they gave him ample opportunity to do so as Mr. Loku advanced upon their position. The subject officer considered disengaging and creating further distance with Mr. Loku, but quickly dismissed the notion given the tight quarters involved. The door frame, the narrow hallway, and the stairwell behind them did not give the officers the opportunity to create space or distance. It was only when Mr. Loku had closed the gap between them to about a couple of metres – and it was apparent he was not about to stop – that the officer discharged his firearm.
“There is no question that the officers were acting in the discharge of their duty to preserve and protect life when they made their way to the third floor and confronted Mr. Loku. They had received word of an assault in progress involving a man armed with a hammer threatening a woman with death and refusing to leave her apartment. From that moment, it was a matter of seconds until the shooting, at which time I have no doubt that the subject officer feared for his life and that of his partner.
“On this record, confronted with an armed and violent suspect who had neared to within three metres or less and was refusing to stop, I am satisfied that the subject officer fired his weapon believing it to be necessary to thwart an imminent hammer attack and that the officer’s apprehensions in this regard were reasonable. Consequently, whether pursuant to sections 25(3) or 34 of the Code, there are no reasonable grounds, in my view, to believe that the officer exceeded the ambit of justifiable force in the circumstances. For the foregoing reasons, no charges will issue.”
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations
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SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES