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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation in Sudbury Firearm Death

Case Number: 10-OFD-278

Mississauga (5 May, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any officers of the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) with a criminal offence in regards to the firearm death of a Sudbury man in December of last year.

The SIU assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to investigate this death. Six witness officers were interviewed as were twelve civilian witnesses. Communication recordings and other documents were obtained from the GSPS. A scale diagram of the scene was completed by SIU forensic investigators.

In the early hours of December 29, 2010, two GSPS officers were dispatched to Pine Street in Sudbury after receiving information that its occupant, Mr. Tranchemontagne, had stabbed his roommate. The two subject officers entered the building by breaking a window in its front door. They descended a few stairs to the outside door to Mr. Tranchemontagne’s basement apartment and ordered Mr. Tranchemontagne to open the door. After he refused to do so, they kicked it open. As the subject officers entered a small anteroom to the apartment, they saw Mr. Tranchemontagne either seated in or near a chair close to the doorway. In one hand, he had a telephone and the other he was holding a knife. He was talking to the 911 operator and refusing to put the knife down. As the subject officers entered the apartment’s anteroom, one of them commanded him to drop the knife. Mr. Tranchemontagne did not and both subject officers discharged their firearms striking Mr. Tranchemontagne. He was taken to hospital where he later died.

Director Scott said. "There were no surviving civilian witnesses to this incident and the two subject officers declined to be interviewed by the SIU as is their legal right. However, Mr. Tranchemontagne was speaking to a 911 operator up to the moment he was shot. This taped conversation, as well as the autopsy, forensic identification and ballistics analysis of the scene leads me to the conclusion that it is clear that Mr. Tranchemontagne was armed with a knife as the subject officers first encountered him, was ordered to drop it, and was shot while still holding it. Indeed, a knife was later found near Mr. Tranchemontagne’s body. Also in the living room area on a sofa was the lifeless body of his roommate, Mr. Picard."

Director Scott continued, "The subject officers had the lawful authority to enter the apartment by virtue of the exigent circumstances that were present – they had been informed that Mr. Tranchemontagne had stabbed a man. At that point, the subject officers did not know if Mr. Tranchemontagne continued to represent a threat to others. Once they entered, they were confronted by an armed Mr. Tranchemontagne at close quarters who refused to drop his knife. The ballistics analysis supports the conclusion that the subject officers discharged their handguns six times in total; one officer four times and the other officer twice. Four of those rounds struck Mr. Tranchemontagne. Two of the bullets caused fatal injuries to Mr. Tranchemontagne."

Director Scott concluded, "While Mr. Tranchemontagne’s movements at the point of discharge are not entirely clear, forensic analysis suggest that Mr. Tranchemontagne was facing the subject officers when he was shot. The distance between the firing pistols and Mr. Tranchemontagne was approximately two metres. It is likely that Mr. Tranchemontagne was either rising from a chair or angling his body towards the subject officers, thereby increasing the subject officers’ perception of him as an imminent threat. Under s. 34(2) of the Criminal Code, the subject officers had the lawful authority to use lethal force because Mr. Tranchemontagne represented an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to them. Accordingly, no criminal liability may attach to their actions that caused the unfortunate death of Mr. Tranchemontagne."

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. 

Frank Phillips, frank.phillips@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342