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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into

Case Number: 07-OFD-245

TORONTO (19 March, 2008) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) officers committed any criminal offence in connection with the death of Steve Remian.

The SIU assigned six investigators and three forensic investigators (FI) to probe the circumstances of this incident.
On December 1, 2007, at 1:30 a.m. two citizens saw Mr. Remian in a Tim Horton's parking lot located on Trafalgar Road in Oakville. Mr. Remian was crying and distraught. They spoke with him, but left after Mr. Remian showed them a rifle and made some comments that alarmed them. Mr. Remian got into his car and sped away from the area. One of the citizens made a 911 call to the HRPS and told them what had taken place. The citizen then provided a description of Mr. Remian and the car he drove off in.

A number of HRPS officers responded to this call in an attempt to locate Mr. Remian. Just before 2:18 a.m. they located Mr. Remian driving in the area of Wedgewood Park in east Oakville. Mr. Remian pulled into the park and drove along a path into a stand of trees where his vehicle became stuck. HRPS officers surrounded the car and attempted to negotiate with Mr. Remian for his safe surrender. At 2:21 AM one of the officers flattened two of the car's tires by shooting them. This was to stop Mr. Remian's efforts to free his car.

What ensued after the tires were flattened was a concerted negotiation effort. Throughout their dealings with Mr. Remian the officers were trying to get him to put down his rifle and give up. He would not. During the attempted negotiations Mr. Remian got out of his car armed with his rifle. (The SIU investigation determined that the rifle was loaded, and Mr. Remian had more than 400 rounds of ammunition available to himself, either in the gun, in his pockets or in the car). Throughout the continued negotiations Mr. Remian held the muzzle of the rifle under his chin and on more than one occasion it appeared to those involved that he was trying to summon up the will to end his own life.

The negotiations continued until around 2:35 a.m. when one of the officers saw an opportunity to try to bring the standoff to a peaceful end by firing his Taser. Unfortunately there was a very narrow target of exposed skin for the probes to attach to and it is clear that no good connection was made to Mr. Remian's body and the Taser was ineffective.

Mr. Remian ripped the probes out of his clothing and after a moment levelled his gun at the officers. At this point the officers fired a number of shots at Mr. Remian striking him 8 times. Mr. Remian fell to the ground. The officers rushed over to Mr. Remian to see if they could possibly administer first aid. They also summoned an ambulance that was waiting nearby. Mr. Remian was pronounced dead at the scene.

Director Cornish said, "These officers were dealing with a distraught, inconsolable and depressed man who that morning was preoccupied with self-destructive thoughts. The officers obviously had to isolate this man from other civilians given the fact that he was armed with a firearm. They could not simply retreat. That being said they did not rush the car. Instead they chose what appears to have been their only reasonable option and that was to attempt to convince him to disarm and surrender. The officers carefully considered their use of force options and attempted to end this incident first by use of negotiation and tactical communication and then by less-lethal force through the Taser. Even then the Taser was not deployed until it appeared to the officer that there was a reasonable prospect that it would be effective and also not until the man's finger appeared to be off the trigger of the rifle he was holding."

Director Cornish concluded, "It is my view on the basis of the evidence in this case that the officers were faced with a very real threat of lethal force and were legally justified in responding to that threat with lethal force."

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. 

SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342