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News Release

No Basis for Charges in Incident inside Ottawa Chapters Store where Man Stabbed Himself

Case Number: 16-OCI-010

Mississauga, ON (12 August, 2016) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit has found there is no basis to impugn the actions of any Ottawa Police Service officers in an incident in which a man stabbed himself in the chest several times inside a Chapters store washroom.  

The SIU assigned five investigators and two forensic investigators to this incident.

The subject officer was interviewed by the SIU; the officer also provided a copy of his duty notes.  Investigators also interviewed the complainant, three witness officers, and six civilian witnesses.

The completed SIU investigation found the following:
  • Early in the morning on January 12, 2016, an 18-year-old man uploaded a video to Facebook. In the video, the man stated he had stolen a pickup truck, was suicidal and homicidal, that he was armed with knives, and that he would intentionally cause a fatal motor vehicle collision if the police attempted to stop him. 
  • Ottawa Police were notified of the video and located the man inside the Chapters book store at 2735 Iris Street. 
  • Around 12:30 p.m., the first witness officer entered the store and confronted the man. 
  • The witness officer attempted to speak to the man but the man pulled out a knife and ran to the hallway where the washrooms were located. 
  • The witness officer approached the washroom and was about 15 feet away when he saw the man, who was partially inside the entranceway of the washroom and waving a knife with a three-to-four inch blade.  The witness officer drew his firearm and pointed it at the man, ordering him to drop the knife. The man refused.
  • The witness officer then started a conversation with the man and continued to speak to him when tactical officers arrived and the man yelled at the police and retreated into the washroom.  
  • The man briefly exited the washroom and saw the tactical officers – including the subject officer – with conducted energy weapons and firearms drawn.  The man screamed at the officers and told them he was going to stab himself.  He went back inside the washroom.
  • The officers decided they needed to enter the washroom in order to secure the man and they radioed a request for non-lethal use-of-force equipment, including a riot shield and a projectile device that utilizes rubber bullets. 
  • Moments later, the man stepped out of the washroom and immediately dropped his knife. 
  • The subject officer directed the man to get on the ground and crawl towards the officers.  At that time, it became apparent that there was blood coming from underneath the man’s shirt. 
  • Officers secured the man and found he had numerous stab wounds to his chest and abdomen.  Officers administered emergency first aid until paramedics arrived and transported the man to hospital.  He underwent surgery and has since recovered.   
  
Acting Director Joseph Martino said, “There is absolutely no basis to impugn the actions of the subject officer, or, for that matter, the actions of any of the police officers who interacted with the man. The first witness officer demonstrated impressive composure and restraint during his initial contact with the man. The subject officer took control of a dynamic and potentially dangerous situation, and handled it in a commendable fashion. He began by trying to calm down the man, and when it appeared that the man might resort to self-harm, he called for non-lethal use-of-force equipment.  Neither the subject officer, nor any of the OPS officers present, did anything to exacerbate the situation or push the man towards self-harm. 

“The man decided to stab himself multiple times. He caused severe injury to himself, and in fact punctured both of his lungs. The subject officer did absolutely nothing to causally contribute to man’s injuries. Consequently, no charges will issue.”

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. 

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

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