SIU Concludes Investigation into New Year's Eve Shooting in Toronto
Case Number: 04-TFD-136
The shooting occurred after a TPS officer responded to a call at a store on 2129 Danforth Avenue. The officer arrived to what turned out to be an armed robbery in progress and became involved in a confrontation, resulting in the youth being shot.
As part of the SIU investigation, investigators interviewed a total of 36 civilian witnesses, 17 of whom actually witnessed the subject officer firing his weapon. Seven police officers were also interviewed. Forensic identification technicians analyzed the scene and determined that the officer had discharged his weapon in two different locations. The SIU examined and retrieved nine spent .40 calibre cartridge cases, and a 12 gauge sawed-off shotgun. In addition, a Volkswagon Golf car in which the youth had fled in, was recovered and examined to identify any potential evidence related to the shooting.
The investigation revealed that at about 5:55 p.m. on December 31, 2004, the TPS received a 911 call reporting that some youths had run into the Windjammer Sports store and were possibly robbing the store. The officer arrived and encountered two men calling out to him while holding the door to the store closed. The two men were the owner and an employee of the store and told the officer that one of the youths involved in the robbery was inside; that youth was struggling to get out of the store.
The officer drew his handgun and kept it pointed to the ground. The young man suddenly forced open the door, and started to run southbound on Amroth Avenue. The officer identified himself as a police officer and ordered the teen to stop. The youth turned toward the officer and either pulled out a shotgun or started to pull it out. The officer fired four shots, hitting him twice.
The youth dropped the shotgun and ran to a getaway car that was pulling out from a nearby parking lot on the west side of Amroth Avenue. At 6:04 p.m., the subject officer reported to the TPS communications centre the youth had gotten into the passenger side of a Volkswagon Golf car. The car started moving forward slowly and the officer fired five times at the getaway car, hitting it twice. The SIU later determined that none of those five shots struck the young man.
The car sped away on Oak Crest Avenue, through Stephenson Park, and onto Main Street where it collided with another car. Witnesses stated the driver of the car fled from the scene. The passenger exited the car. He had difficulty standing and shortly afterwards, fell to the ground.
Officers found the youth at the scene of the collision. Paramedics attended and transported him to hospital where he was pronounced dead. A post mortem examination concluded he died from two gunshot wounds to the torso.
Director Cornish determined the entire incident unfolded very quickly and there was very little time for the subject officer to reflect on how he should react to the events with which he was confronted. He stated, "The officer shot at the young man with a reasonably held belief that shooting was necessary to preserve his life and safety and the lives and safety of those in the vicinity. The officer's use of lethal force was necessary to end that threat and justified under section 25 of the Criminal Code."
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.