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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Belleville Shooting

Case Number: 05-OFI-088

TORONTO (24 August, 2005) --- James Cornish, Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that the shooting of 44-year-old James Wood on June 12, 2005 by a Belleville Police Service (BPS) officer was legally justified.

Just prior to midnight on that date Mr. Wood was involved in a confrontation with members of the BPS at the rear of a property in Foxboro that ended after he was shot once in the abdomen. Mr. Wood survived the injury.

As part of the investigation, SIU investigators designated one subject officer and six witness officers from the BPS. SIU Forensic Identification technicians documented the scene and collected material evidence including one spent police .40 calibre shell case, a 12-inch hatchet, and one 38-inch axe.

The SIU investigation revealed that at approximately 11:16 p.m. on June 12, 2005 Belleville Police were dispatched to a home on Ashley Street in regards to an emergent family dispute. The responding officers were told that Mr. Wood was highly intoxicated and had fled the home armed with an axe and other tools. The police were further advised that Mr. Wood, who was known to them, was agitated and had acted violently towards his family earlier that evening.

The officers soon found Mr. Wood at the rear of a neighbour's property and ordered him to the ground. Mr. Wood, who carried a hatchet and other garden tools, did not respond to the order. An officer was heard to command "Put the axe down" moments before the single shot was fired.

Mr. Wood later acknowledged that he had threatened officers with a hatchet and that he had failed to heed their commands to surrender his weapons.

Having reviewed all of the evidence, Director Cornish determined that the subject officer was justified in discharging his firearm, as he reasonably feared for his safety and the safety of other officers in harms way. He stated, "The officer met lethal force with lethal force and fortunately Mr. Wood survived."

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