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News Release

No Grounds to Charge Officer in Connection with Death of Man in West Lincoln

Case Number: 15-OCD-234

Mississauga, ON (15 September, 2016) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against a Niagara Regional Police Service officer in relation to the shooting death of a 45-year-old man in October of 2015.  

Four investigators and two forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.

The SIU interviewed six civilian witnesses and four witness officers. The subject officer participated in an SIU interview and did provide a copy of his duty notes.
 
The Unit’s investigation also included review of the 911 call, results from the post-mortem examination and forensic analysis of the scene and a shotgun. 

The SIU investigation found the following:
  • In the early morning hours of Friday, October 9, 2015, the subject officer and another officer attended a residence in West Lincoln after police received a call about a disturbance. 
  • The officers rang the front doorbell, but there was no response. The subject officer made his way to the rear of the residence using his flashlight to illuminate the area. As he reached the back of the house, he saw the 45-year-old man approximately eight metres away, behind a post. The officer asked the man what was happening. The man responded he did not know, and then shot himself.

Acting Director Joseph Martino said, “Aside from being present in the vicinity of the shotgun blast, the subject officer had nothing to do with the man’s death. The officer was lawfully on the property in response to an emergency call for police assistance.   Knowing what he knew of the man’s behaviour, namely, that he was armed with a knife and had threatened to harm others, the officer approached the scene cautiously; rightfully so. Encountering the man at the rear of the residence, the officer barely had enough time to ask a question and receive an answer before the shotgun was discharged. The results of the post-mortem and the forensic examination of the scene and its exhibits, including the shotgun, in addition to the uncontroverted evidence of the witnesses, establish to my satisfaction that the man intentionally shot himself. It is apparent to me on this record that there was nothing the subject officer could have done to thwart the man’s fateful final act and, accordingly, no charges will issue against the officer.”   

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.

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