SIU Concludes Investigation into Whitby Shooting
Case Number: 05-OFD-068
David Noble, 42 years of age, died on May 7, 2005 after being shot four times in the chest by a Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) officer.
During the investigation, SIU investigators designated 1 subject officer and interviewed 11 police and civilian witnesses. Forensic identification technicians documented the shooting scene with photographs, videotapes and scene drawings. All evidentiary items, including five spent cartridges cases, police equipment and a knife, were retrieved and examined.
The SIU investigation determined that at 12:56 a.m., the DRPS received a 911 call from a woman who reported that her boyfriend, David Noble, had just stabbed her in the arm and was threatening to kill her. The woman reported Mr. Noble did not want the police around and was threatening to kill her if he saw one police car.
Eight officers responded to the call and positioned themselves around the home with a view of the front doorway. Soon after their arrival, the police saw the front door open and the woman walk out of the home. Mr. Noble followed her, carrying a knife. Mr. Noble grabbed the woman and put her in a chokehold with the knife to her neck, stating that he was going to kill her. Officers drew their firearms and confronted Mr. Noble in the walkway, ordering him to put the knife down. Mr. Noble was crouched down and had the woman in a headlock. He told the police to shoot him. The officers had their firearms fixed on Mr. Noble and continually ordered him to drop the knife and let the woman go.
Mr. Noble then stood up, continued to hold the woman in a chokehold with the knife to her throat, and moved back up the walkway toward the house. An officer moved towards Mr. Noble who was now near the front door entrance, and pepper sprayed him in the face. The pepper spray had no effect and Mr. Noble said to the officers, "Pepper spray doesn't work on me." During this time, an officer also unsuccessfully attempted to pull the woman from Mr. Noble's grasp.
Officers went from trying to negotiate and plead with Mr. Noble to repeated orders to let go of the woman and not go back into the home. Mr. Noble ignored the officers' commands and continued to move backwards toward the door to the home, pulling the woman with him. He reached the front doorway and as Mr. Noble entered the home, the subject officer fired five times. Four of those shots hit Mr. Noble and one hit the door lock.
The entire incident lasted 13 minutes from the 911 call made by the woman to the time the shots were fired.
Director Cornish concluded the officers were thrust into a highly volatile situation and made decisions based upon the actions of Mr. Noble. He stated, "I believe that the subject officer had a reasonable belief that Mr. Noble posed a real and imminent threat to the life and safety of the woman and that the use of lethal force was necessary to attempt to end that threat. One neighbour who overheard most of this incident said that the officers seemed to be doing everything they could to get Mr. Noble to free the woman. The woman herself has said that she believes she would be dead had the police not intervened."
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.
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