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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into the Death of A Stratford Man

Case Number: 08-PCD-148

TORONTO (27 August, 2008) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has determined that Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers did not cause or contribute to the death of a 58-year-old Stratford, Ontario man.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on July 26, 2008, OPP officers from the Listowel detachment, supported by members of the Tactical Rescue Unit and the Emergency Response Team, responded to a call about a pick-up truck on fire and a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun at Memorial Park in Listowel. When officers arrived, the man held them at bay and repeatedly threatened to take his own life. After a five-hour standoff during which police negotiators tried unsuccessfully to convince the man to surrender, he sat down under a tree and shot himself in the chest.

"In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers involved in this case committed any criminal offence", concluded SIU Director James Cornish. "When the officers realized that the man was armed, they immediately retreated to a position of relative safety and commenced their efforts to have the man give up the gun and surrender himself peacefully. Trained negotiators and an incident commander negotiated in earnest, but no avail."
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During the course of the investigation, the SIU interviewed six OPP officers and seven civilian witnesses as well as reviewed 96 minutes of audiotapes of dialogue between police negotiators and the distraught man.

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. 

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