News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Fatal Shooting in Markham

Case Number: 06-OFD-006

Other News Releases Related to Case 06-OFD-006

SIU Investigates Fatal Shooting in Markham

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TORONTO (1 March, 2006) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that a York Regional Police Service (YRPS) officer is legally justified in the shooting of a 40-year-old man on January 11, 2006, in Markham.

The SIU investigation focused on the circumstances of the fatal police shooting to determine whether the officer's use of force was justified. As part of the probe, SIU investigators interviewed 19 police and civilian witnesses. Forensic identification technicians documented and measured the scene and attended the post mortem examination. In addition, investigators took bloodstain samples and retrieved two spent .40 calibre cartridge cases and a silver metal knife. Police notes and reports were also reviewed.

The SIU investigation revealed that at 3:21 p.m., two YRPS officers responded to a domestic disturbance call involving a man and his parents at 4 Octavian Court. Before arriving at the home, the officers received information that a man was assaulting his mother. They also learned that a previous call to the address showed the man suffered from mental illness and was known to be violent. At 3:26 p.m., the dispatcher notified the officers the man was now hitting the father.

The two officers arrived at the home and were met by the mother who told them her son was attacking her husband with a knife. The officers went into the home and saw the father was lying on his back on a narrow stairway landing with his son kneeling over him. The elderly man was obviously wounded and bleeding as he tried to fight off his son who was trying to stab him. The father cried out to the police officers for help.

The subject officer had already drawn his pepper spray but when he saw that the attack was in a confined space, the officer decided against using the spray. The officers ordered the man to throw down the knife. He did not acknowledge the presence of the police and continued to attack his father. The subject officer then approached and struck the man twice with his ASP baton. It had no apparent effect.

The officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop his knife. He ignored the officers' commands and continued to attack his father. Both officers now had their guns drawn and the subject officer shot twice, striking the man in his back. He fell while still holding onto the knife.

The officers disarmed him and then quickly ushered in emergency medical services personnel who were standing by at the scene. The man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. The parents of the deceased man were also taken to hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening laceration wounds.

Director Cornish concluded, "The events in this tragic case unfolded very quickly and virtually all of it was recorded either on the police radio system or on the 911 system. It depicts a horrifying scene in which a mother witnesses her own son being shot by the police while that son was in the process of trying to kill her husband, his father."

"I do not believe that the subject officer could reasonably have done anything else than what he did. The subject officer had exhausted all non-lethal options available to him and unfortunately a man died, but it is quite likely that two lives were saved."

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342