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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Lindsay Firearms Death and Firearms Injuries

Case Number: 11-OFD-114

Mississauga (1 November, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service (PLCPS) officer with a criminal offence in regards to:

• The firearms death of 21-year-old Cory Aaron Armstrong

• The firearms injuries sustained by 37-year-old Constable Keith Calderwood, an officer with PLCPS

The SIU assigned eight investigators and five forensic investigators to look into the circumstances surrounding the June 22, 2011 incident. The four designated subject officers and the seven witness officers supplied their duty notes and were interviewed. Seventeen civilian witnesses were identified and interviewed. The incident area was forensically examined and police equipment was obtained. The Centre of Forensic Sciences examined ballistics and blood evidence.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on June 22:

• The four subject officers were members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) of the PLCPS. The team was assisting members of the Kawartha Lakes Police Service in the execution of a drug warrant at a Lindsay residence. The police had information that drugs were being dealt from this residence. As well, they were informed that there were two firearms on the premises.

• At 11:20 a.m., 10 members of the ERT lined up at the front door of the residence and breached the door with a battering ram. One member threw a distraction device into the house. They entered, announced their presence and the fact of the search warrant, and began dispersing throughout the house in an attempt to secure it.

• The officers encountered Mr. Armstrong in the hallway near the back bedroom. He was shouting as he was running and firing a gun at the officers. Cst Calderwood was hit in the upper right shoulder causing him to fall down.

• Mr. Armstrong was then shot numerous times by the four designated subject officers. His cause of death was noted on the autopsy report as ‘multiple gunshot wounds.’

• Meanwhile, Cst Calderwood felt another bullet enter his right calf. He was taken to Ross Memorial Hospital for treatment and was subsequently airlifted to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto where he was treated for his gunshot wounds. He is expected to recover.

Director Scott said, "The subject officers were in the process of executing a lawful search warrant on the premises in question and thus had the authority to be there. In my view, they were justified in discharging their firearms multiple times at Mr. Armstrong; he represented an imminent threat to all members of ERT because he was advancing on the officers and had fired at them three times with a .45 calibre semi-automatic handgun. Two of the projectiles discharged in the direction of Cst Calderwood and the third one jammed in the breech. All of the subject officers had a reasonable apprehension of either their own death or grievous bodily harm under ss. 34(2) of the Criminal Code or the immediate and serious injury of another officer under s. 27 of the Code such that they were justified in using lethal force against Mr. Armstrong. Therefore, I cannot form reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officers committed a criminal offence in the death of Mr. Armstrong."

Director Scott continued, "While it is not possible to source the bullet that entered Cst Calderwood’s shoulder because it exited through his back and could not be located, it is likely that Mr. Armstrong fired this potentially lethal shot.

"As for the officer who fired the .223 calibre shot from his Bushmaster rifle that entered Cst Calderwood’s leg, he cannot, in my view, be held criminally liable for this inadvertent injury. From the subject officer’s perspective, he saw Mr. Armstrong coming down the hallway with a firearm in his hand. He saw muzzle flashes from the handgun. He stepped into one of the bedrooms and shot repeatedly toward Mr. Armstrong in closed quarters and chaotic circumstances. The visibility in the house was poor because no lights were on, and there was residual smoke from the distraction device. While it is unfortunate that one of his discharges inadvertently struck Cst Calderwood in the right leg, all of the officers were justified given the imminent threat that Mr. Armstrong represented to them."

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