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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Toronto Firearm Death

Case Number: 11-TFD-205

Mississauga (3 November, 2011) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the facts around the October 2011 firearm death of 52-year-old Sylvia Klibingaitis. Ian Scott, the Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe an officer with the Toronto Police Service committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned eight investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. Investigators interviewed the subject officer, seven witness officers and four civilian witnesses. The in-car video footage, forensics information, the post-mortem examination and all statements provided a comprehensive understanding of this incident.

The investigation found that the following events took place on October 7:

• At approximately 9:30 a.m., Ms. Klibingaitis called 911 from her Wedgewood residence and told the operator she had a knife and was going to commit a crime.

• The subject officer and another officer responded to the call in separate marked police cruisers.

• The subject officer approached the house. Ms. Klibingaitis suddenly exited the residence through the front doors and descended from the porch with a large knife in her right hand. She went directly toward the subject officer holding the knife in a threatening manner. The subject officer unholstered his firearm and pointed it at Ms. Klibingaitis while stepping backward toward the street and repeatedly yelling in a loud and clear manner to "Put the knife down!", to which Ms. Klibingaitis responded, "No".

• The in-car video camera recordings showed her less than two metres away from the subject officer with the knife positioned above her shoulder and continuing to close in on him when the subject officer discharged his firearm three times in rapid succession causing Ms. Klibingaitis to fall on the roadway. Both officers present performed CPR until she was transported to the hospital by ambulance. The post-mortem examination concluded that Ms. Klibingaitis died of one gunshot wound to the front of the chest.

Director Scott said, "In my view, the subject officer was justified in using lethal force in these circumstances pursuant to the self-defence provisions of the Criminal Code. The relevant section states that anyone may use lethal force if they have been unlawfully assaulted and repel that assault under a reasonable apprehension of imminent death or serious bodily harm, reasonably believing there to be no alternative. Here, the subject officer was attacked by Ms. Klibingaitis who was armed with a knife and would not comply with his commands to drop it. Further, he made reasonable efforts in attempting to escape from her assault. Finally, it is unreasonable to expect anyone in these dynamic circumstances to disarm an assailant by either aiming for a limb or wrestling the weapon from her. While the death of Ms. Klibingaitis is a tragic event, in my view, the subject officer was justified in discharging his firearm because he had a reasonable apprehension of death or serious bodily harm with no escape."

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,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342