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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Ottawa Shooting

Case Number: 09-OFD-052

Mississauga (25 May, 2009) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the firearm death of a 27 year old Ottawa man in early March 2009.

Seven investigators and two forensic investigators from the SIU were assigned to probe the circumstances of this incident.

The SIU investigation determined that at 7:02 p.m. on March 6th, OPS officers were dispatched to a reported armed bank robbery on Montreal Rd. Responding officers saw Mr. Paul Jeffrey fleeing the area on foot. Mr. Jeffrey had what appeared to be a black pistol in his possession. This pistol later turned out to be a replica. At one point Mr. Jeffrey faced an officer and told the officer he would shoot. Other officers were then alerted via radio to the fact that Mr. Jeffrey might be armed and would shoot. At various points during the foot chase that unfolded, Mr. Jeffrey pointed the gun in the direction of the officers. This prompted several officers to shoot at Mr. Jeffrey.

Mr. Jeffrey was struck and died as a result of the gunshot injuries he sustained. The evidence was not capable of showing which of the four subject officers fired the shot that killed Mr. Jeffrey.

Director Scott said, "Pursuant to ss. 25(4) of the Criminal Code, police officers have the authority to use lethal force against a fleeing felon if they believe on reasonable grounds that the force is necessary for the purpose of protecting them or those assisting them or others from imminent death or grievous bodily harm, and the flight could not be prevented in a less violent manner. Here, the subject officers were attempting to apprehend a man who had just robbed a bank and had a replica handgun in his possession. Even though the pistol was not real, Mr. Jeffrey behaved in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to conclude that it was real. First, he was running from a recently consummated bank robbery. Second, he threatened to shoot an officer. Third, he ran at the officers with the replica gun held in a manner strongly suggesting that he was going to shoot one of them. And finally, the replica could easily be mistaken for a real handgun."

Director Scott concluded, "The law is clear that a police officer may rely upon an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief in apprehending death or serious bodily harm before responding with lethal force. Here, I am of the view that the subject officers had an honest and reasonable belief that the Mr. Jeffrey was an armed fleeing felon who was prepared to use imminent lethal force against one or more of them. Accordingly, I cannot form the requisite grounds to believe that the subject officer who discharged the lethal bullet committed a criminal offence. Further, the other subject officers did not commit a criminal offence when they shot at Mr. Jeffrey because they too had the same reasonable, although ultimately mistaken, belief that he was about to use 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. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342