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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Whitefish Bay Firearm Death

Case Number: 10-PFD-078

Mississauga (1 October, 2010) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the circumstances around the May 9, 2010 firearm death of 39-year-old Brian Gray of Whitefish Bay.  Ian Scott, the Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe three Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers with the Sioux Lookout detachment committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned three investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.  The investigation found that the following events took place on May 9:
  • In the early hours of that day, the OPP received information from the Lac Seul First Nations Police Service that Mr. Gray was firing shots near the residence of George Carpenter in the Whitefish Bay community.  
  • As the OPP was organizing and dispatching backup, more information was phoned in. The OPP was informed that someone had been shot, that Mr. Gray was holding a gun to his own head, and that there were still approximately six people in the residence. Soon after, another report came in that Mr. Gray had gone to his residence to pick up more ammunition, and that he had returned to Mr. Carpenter’s home where more shots were fired.  
  • At approximately 4:30 a.m., members of the OPP Emergency Response Team (ERT) were dispatched.  
  • At approximately 6:00 a.m., a woman was treated at the scene with a gunshot wound to her hand.  
  • At approximately 8:00 a.m., the three subject officers who are members of ERT arrived. They received further information that Mr. Gray was still armed in the residence, that Mr. Carpenter was dead, and that Mr. Gray was intoxicated and volatile.
  • At 9:23 a.m., Mr. Gray exited the residence while holding another man hostage.  With his left hand, Mr. Gray was holding onto the scruff of the hostage’s shirt collar, and in his right hand, Mr. Gray held his rifle with the muzzle resting against the back of the hostage’s head.  The subject officers shouted numerous commands to, “drop the gun”, to “put the weapon down”, and to “get down on the ground.”  However, Mr. Gray refused to comply with the officers’ commands.
  • Just as Mr. Gray discharged his weapon into the air, the hostage dropped to the ground.
  • Mr. Gray emitted a loud scream and the subject officers discharged their rifles several times at him.  He fell to the ground, still conscious and moving. He was handcuffed and removed to an ambulance that had been staged nearby, and transported to the Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officers were collectively and individually justified in the use of lethal force leading to the demise of Mr. Gray in these circumstances.  He had already proven himself to be violent and unpredictable in the events leading up his death, including the shooting of Mr. Carpenter.  He was holding another man hostage by means of a rifle when confronted by the subject officers and refused to comply with their demands.  Mr. Gray represented an imminent threat to the lives and safety of all those around him.  Accordingly, the subject officers were justified in using lethal force either in self-defence under ss. 34(2) of the Criminal Code or to prevent the death of the hostage under s. 27 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. 

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