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News Release

Toronto Police Cleared in Non-fatal Shooting of Bank Robbery Suspect

Case Number: 08-TFI-043

TORONTO (3 July, 2008) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a Toronto Police officer, involved in the shooting of a bank robbery suspect earlier this year, committed any criminal offence.

Officers responded to a call of an armed robbery in progress at the Royal Bank branch on Sheppard Avenue west of Markham Road at approximately 3 p.m. on March 25, 2008. The police had received information that the suspect told the bank staff that he was armed with a bomb controlled by a hand-held remote device.

Police took up position outside the bank to block any escape by the man as he left with cash and the apparent explosive device. He ignored all commands to put down the device and, instead, advanced on one of the officers at a steady pace outside the main doors of the bank. The officer fired three shots at the man in rapid succession, each of them hitting the suspect. Life-saving efforts began almost immediately with police, EMS and physicians able to save the man's life.

The SIU assigned five field investigators and four forensic investigators to this case.

The Director of the SIU, James Cornish, said: "As the incident unfolded, there would have been no way for the subject officer to have known that the bomb was not real; indeed, given the information that the officer possessed it would have been unwise for him to have assumed that the bomb was part of a hoax."

The investigation found that the bomb was a fake, consisting of a box inside a bag, with a remote garage door opener passing as the triggering device.

"Given the nature of the information provided to the subject officer and the brief, few seconds in which he interacted directly with the suspect, there was no reason for the officer to have believed anything but that the bomb was real," concluded SIU Director James Cornish. "The subjective fear for the lives and safety of himself and others was honestly held and objectively grounded. In my view, the officer's choice to resort to potentially lethal force cannot fairly be characterized as an unreasonable one."

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