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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Firearm Injuries in Hanover

Case Number: 11-OFI-053

Mississauga (18 May, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer of the Hanover Police Service (HPS) with a criminal offence in regards to the firearm injuries sustained by 53-year-old Gerald Ernewein, in March of this year.

Five SIU investigators and two forensic investigators were assigned to investigate this incident. One HPS officer was designated as a subject officer. The SIU designated and interviewed eight witness officers. Nineteen civilian witnesses were also identified and interviewed. The scene was examined, photographed and a video-recording was made.

The SIU investigation determined:

In the early hours on March 27, 2011, HPS received a complaint that Mr. Ernewein was threatening other residents in the residential rooms area above the Forum bar in Hanover.

HPS officers initially responded and requested assistance from the West Grey Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Mr. Ernewein came out of his room several times with a knife in each hand, and approached the officers, who had taken up positions in the hallway.

Mr. Ernewein returned to his room. A short period after his final retreat, he came out of his room again and ran towards the subject officer and one witness officer.

The witness officer deployed his conducted energy weapon (CEW) and the subject officer, located just behind and offset from the witness officer, discharged his pistol twice.

Two rounds struck Mr. Ernewein; one in the lower abdomen and the other in the shoulder.

Mr. Ernewein fell to the floor where he was arrested and subsequently taken to Hanover District Hospital.

No knives were found at the scene of the shooting.

Mr. Scott said, "In light of Mr. Ernewein’s prior acts of aggression with knives towards the officers that morning, including the subject officer, I am of the view that the subject officer may have reasonably, albeit mistakenly, concluded that he remained armed with a knife when he rushed out of his room in the officer’s direction, leading the subject officer to shoot him twice. Accordingly, I am not satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officer’s use of force was excessive in the 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