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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Toronto Firearm Death

Case Number: 10-TFD-061

Mississauga (21 September, 2010) ---   The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the circumstances around the April 19, 2010 firearm death of 49-year-old Wieslaw Duda.  Ian Scott, the Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe two officers with the Toronto Police Service (TPS) committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned five investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.  The investigation found that the following events took place on April 19:
  • At approximately 1:13 a.m., the TPS received a 911 call reporting that a male, now known be Mr. Duda, was operating a motor vehicle eastbound on Queen Street East in the vicinity of Woodbine Avenue in an erratic manner, swerving all over the road.
  • Two officers were dispatched to investigate this information and thus made their way to the area where Mr. Duda was last seen.
  • At about the same time that the 911 call was received, subject officer #1 (SO#1) and another officer were concluding their investigation of a gas leak on Kingston Road.  Subject officer #2 (SO#2) was about to step out of his cruiser to assist the officers investigating the gas leak when Mr. Duda’s vehicle went by him at a very high rate of speed.  SO#2 activated his emergency lights and siren, and pursued the vehicle from Kingston Road to the intersection of Leslie Street and Lakeshore Road.  Here, he terminated the pursuit in compliance with the TPS Communications supervisor’s directive due to increasing concerns for public safety.  In addition to driving at a very high rate of speed during this pursuit, Mr. Duda ignored numerous red traffic signal lights.
  • SO#2 lost sight of Mr. Duda’s vehicle in the industrial area of Toronto’s waterfront.  After terminating the pursuit, the officer continued southbound on Leslie Street to Unwin Avenue, where he went westbound to Cherry Street.  Upon turning north on Cherry Street, he saw the officers who had been investigating the gas leakage and pulled over.   
  • At about 1:29 a.m., the two officers who were originally dispatched to locate Mr. Duda reported over the air that their cruiser had just been struck by Mr. Duda’s vehicle while they were attempting to stop it.  About 20 seconds later, the officers radioed that Mr. Duda was westbound on Commissioners Street, and that they were unhurt and following Mr. Duda at a distance.  
  • In the meantime, the three officers who had stopped on Cherry Street parked their two cruisers in the intersection of Cherry and Commissioners Streets, and exited their vehicles.  
  • Another pair of officers entered Commissioners Street and commenced the second pursuit of Mr. Duda westbound with emergency lights and siren activated.
  • Other officers arrived at the intersection of Cherry and Commissioners Streets, exited their vehicles, and took up positions of cover with their pistols drawn.  One officer had a shotgun.
  • At about 1:31 a.m., Mr. Duda’s vehicle arrived and momentarily stopped just east of the intersection.  Several officers, with pistols unholstered, shouted at Mr. Duda to show his hands and get out of the car.
  • Mr. Duda did not comply with the officers’ commands and instead accelerated in their direction. As the officers scrambled to get out of the path of the vehicle, one of the officers was struck by Mr. Duda’s vehicle and was propelled onto the vehicle causing its windshield to shatter.  He then rolled off.  From the perspective of the subject officers, the struck officer may have been between a stationary police cruiser and Mr. Duda’s moving vehicle.
  • At about the same instant that Mr. Duda’s vehicle struck the officer, several officers discharged a total of 32 rounds from their pistols at Mr. Duda, and one officer discharged his shotgun twice at Mr. Duda.  
  • The gunfire ceased when Mr. Duda’s vehicle collided with a TPS cruiser.  
  • Of the shots discharged, the five 40 calibre projectiles that struck Mr. Duda’s torso from the right side and caused his death came from the two subject officers.  The struck officer sustained only minor injuries from this incident.

Director Scott said, “Pursuant to ss. 25(4) of the Criminal Code, peace officers are justified in using deadly force if they are assisting in arresting a person for a serious offence, the person takes flight, they believe on reasonable grounds that it is necessary for the purpose of protecting anyone from imminent or future death, and the flight could not be prevented by reasonable means in a less violent manner.  Here, the subject officers had witnessed Mr. Duda make a seemingly deliberate attempt to run over another officer in an attempt to escape lawful custody after a lengthy and dangerous suspect apprehension pursuit. The imminent harm to the struck officer was obvious, as was the risk to others had the vehicle escaped.  They were also justified in using lethal force under s. 27 of the Criminal Code which permits anyone to use as much force as is reasonably necessary to prevent the commission of certain offences that would be likely to cause immediate and serious injury. The facts here also fulfill this criterion. Accordingly, I am of the view that the subject officers were justified in using lethal force in these circumstances.”

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