SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TFI-336
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
Pursuant to section 21 (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may also have been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into serious injuries sustained by a 30-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn December 3, 2020, at 4:37 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) notified the SIU of the firearms-related injury to the Complainant. The TPS advised that on December 3, 2020, just after 4:00 p.m., a TPS police officer [now determined to be the Subject Officer (SO)] discharged his firearm, striking the Complainant in the abdomen. The Complainant was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) in Toronto.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 12/03/2020 at 5:14 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 12/03/2020 at 6:07 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):30-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed in early January 2021.
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
CW #6 Interviewed
CW #7 Interviewed
CW #8 Interviewed
CW #9 Interviewed
CW #10 Interviewed
Civilian witnesses were interviewed between December 3, 2020 and December 15, 2020.
Subject OfficialsSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but body-worn camera (BWC) footage received and reviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but BWC footage received and reviewed
Witness officials were interviewed between December 4, 2020 and December 9, 2020.
The SIU attended the scene on December 3, 2020 at 6:07 p.m. The scene was located at 3260 Lake Shore Road West in Etobicoke. It was a small strip plaza located in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of Lake Shore Road West and Twenty Fourth Street. There were two entrance driveways to the parking lot. One on the north side of Lake Shore Road West and the other on the west side of Twenty Fourth Street.
There were three businesses on the north side of the lot facing to the south. A 711 store, a Snack Shack and a Long Branch Fish and Chips store. The parking lot was well illuminated with lighting from a large sign in the southwest corner of the lot, and from ambient lighting from the store fronts.
There were vehicles parked in front of the businesses. A grey 4-door Toyota Corolla, orientated in a northerly direction and in front of 711; two un-plated small motorcycles; a blue 4-door Honda Civic, orientated in a southerly direction and in front of Snack Shack; an un-plated double-axle trailer, orientated in a southerly direction and between Snack Shack and Long Branch Fish and Chips; and, a grey 2-door Ford Mustang, orientated in a southerly direction in front of Long Branch Fish and Chips.
On the north sidewalk of Lake Shore Road West and west of Twenty Fourth Street there was a large “Bike Share Rack” containing numerous bicycles. There were circular and rectangular raised concrete pots. There was a bench on the north side of the rectangular concrete pots. There were three small trees between the strip mall and north side of the sidewalk. This area was well illuminated with overhead streetlights.
There were three involved police cruisers. The first was a Ford Police Interceptor SUV, (TPS Vehicle #1)). This cruiser was running with its emergency lighting on. It was orientated in an easterly direction in the parking lot. The second was a Ford Police Interceptor SUV (TPS Vehicle #2). It too was running and was orientated in a northwest direction in the entrance driveway from Lake Shore Road West. The third was a Ford Police Interceptor SUV (TPS Vehicle #3)). This cruiser was orientated in a northeast direction in the entrance driveway for Lake Shore Road West and west of TPS Vehicle #2.
In the southwest corner of the lot there was a driveway coming off Lake Shore Boulevard West into the parking area. Several items were strewn on the sidewalk area and the parking lot. The items, located on the east side of the entrance driveway from Lake Shore Road West and north of TPS Vehicle #2, consisted of : #1) a .223 cartridge case; #2) an area of red staining; #3) sunglasses; #4) a lighter; #5) a backpack in the parking lot of the strip plaza; and, #6) clothing on the sidewalk east of the driveway.
Measurements were taken with Total Station equipment for a planned drawing and the scene was photographed.
Physical Evidence The Complainant’s hatchet
A yellow and black-handled hatchet had been previously collected from the ground and placed on the front passenger floor of TPS Vehicle #2. This cruiser was being operated by WO #4. WO #4 in his statement to the SIU pointed out he placed the hatchet in his cruiser. The hatchet was removed, photographed and then returned to TPS for their investigation. It was approximately 39.0 centimetres in length.
Figure 2 - The hatchet as it was found in a TPS vehicle.
Figure 3 – A clearer picture of the hatchet.
Red blood-like substance
A swab of a red blood-like substance was obtained from the southwest corner of the lot in the area of the sunglasses and lighter.
To the east side of the entrance driveway from Lake Shore Road West and north of TPS Vehicle #2 a .223 calibre cartridge case was found.
Figure 4 - The cartridge case found at the scene.
The SO’s rifle and police equipment
At 11:00 p.m., an SIU investigator attended at TPS 22 Division and was presented with a Colt C8 .223 rifle. The weapon was made safe by removing the seated magazine and ejecting the one chambered bullet. The rifle was equipped with an Aimpoint scope and a Streamlight TLR-1 flashlight. Both were mounted on the rifle.
Figure 5 - The SO's Colt C8 rifle.
The SO’s duty belt and ballistic vest were examined and photographed. The vest contained two pairs of handcuffs, two full C8 .223 calibre magazines, a flashlight, and a radio and mic. The SO’s duty belt included an ASP baton, a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW), pepper spray, latex gloves, and a Glock pistol and two full magazines.
The Complainant’s clothing
On December 4, 2020, at 12:38 a.m., an SIU investigator examined the exhibits collected. The three articles of clothing included a green/yellow T- shirt with the word ‘Brasil’ on the front. There was a small circular hole in the left middle of the shirt with some red blood-like staining on the shirt. There was no corresponding hole in the rear of the shirt. There was also a blue T-shirt. There was a small circular hole in the middle just left of the midline with some red blood-like staining on the shirt. There was no corresponding hole in the rear of the shirt. A grey hooded and zippered sweat top was the third article of clothing. There was a small circular hole in the middle area left of the midline.
At 3:28 p.m., an SIU investigator attended at TPS 11 Division and met with a staff sergeant. The SIU investigator was presented with one paper bag with a TPS seal. The SIU investigator returned to the SIU and, at 4:30 p.m., removed the items from the sealed bag. They included a pair of brown sandals, a pair of red-stained white ankle socks, a pair of red-stained grey underwear, a pair of cut red-stained grey sweatpants, along with a wristwatch and a set of keys. All items were placed in drying cabinets to air dry.
On January 6, 2021, at 10:40 a.m., an SIU investigator attended at SMH and met with a manager. The manager turned over to the investigator a vial containing a projectile that came from the torso of the Complainant.
The projectile was submitted to Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) for further analysis.
Forensic Evidence The SO’s C8 rifle, the seized cartridge case found at the scene and a magazine containing 25 live rounds of .223 calibre bullets were submitted to the CFS. Also submitted were the Complainant’s grey hooded sweat top with a circular hole in front, his blue T-shirt with a hole in front and his green and yellow tank top with a hole in front. The clothing was submitted to CFS for firearm discharge residue testing. If the residue was found to exist, an analysis would be conducted for distance determination as well.
No CFS report had been received by the SIU at the date of this report.
Video/Audio/Photographic EvidenceThe SIU searched for and/or obtained audio, video and/or photographic records of relevance, as set out below.
Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) Humber College
At 4:12 p.m., the video began. A man [now determined to be the Complainant] was walking westbound on the north sidewalk of Lake Shore Boulevard West, east of Twenty Fourth Street, in front of the Humber College Book Store.
At 4:12 p.m., a police cruiser [now determined to be driven by the SO] passed the Complainant travelling west on Lake Shore Boulevard West with his flashing emergency lights on. The Complainant stepped out to his left and into the westbound curb lane towards the side of the SO’s police cruiser. The Complainant was carrying a hatchet in his right hand. The SO turned off his flashing emergency lights and slowed as he approached Twenty Fourth Street. The Complainant walked a short distance in the westbound lane, stepped back onto the north sidewalk, and continued walking somewhat briskly westbound. The SO turned right onto Twenty Fourth Street and into the parking lot of the plaza.
At 4:13 p.m., the SO pulled into a parking spot in front of the 711 store. The Complainant continued to walk westbound on the north sidewalk towards Twenty Fourth Street.
At 4:13:18 p.m., the Complainant approached the west curb of Twenty Fourth Street at Lake Shore Boulevard West. The Complainant appeared to reach inside his sweater and hung his right arm down by his leg with the hatchet.
At 4:13:28 p.m., the Complainant stopped on the north sidewalk just south of the row of rental bicycles and turned towards the SO. He stood for 18 seconds and turned in the direction of the SO. A person pushing a baby carriage walked down the west sidewalk on Twenty Fourth Street towards Lake Shore Boulevard West.
At 4:13:46 p.m., the SO exited his police cruiser. The Complainant turned to the west and resumed walking westbound. The person pushing a baby carriage reached the northwest corner of Twenty Fourth Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West.
At 4:13:51 p.m., the Complainant tossed the hatchet to his right over the bike rack.
At 4:13:53 p.m., the SO walked southwest through the parking lot towards the entrance driveway at Lake Shore Boulevard West. The Complainant continued westbound on the sidewalk and approached the entrance driveway.
At 4:13:55 p.m., the Complainant stopped and very briefly put his hands up in the air.
At 4:13:56 p.m., the Complainant turned away from the SO and walked a few steps back to the east.
At 4:13:57 p.m., the Complainant stepped through a space in the row of bicycles and picked up his hatchet. The Complainant stood up. The SO raised his rifle to aim at the Complainant. At this point about 3.7 metres separated the SO and the Complainant. The Complainant stepped towards the SO. The SO stepped backwards and increased the distance between himself and the Complainant to about five metres. There was traffic travelling eastbound and westbound on Lake Shore Boulevard West.
At 4:14:02 p.m., the Complainant continued walking towards the SO, and the SO continued to step backwards maintaining the distance of about five metres between the SO and the Complainant. The SO stepped backwards over the curb on the east side of the driveway and into the driveway.
At 4:14:03 p.m., the SO discharged his rifle. About five metres separated the SO and the Complainant at the time. The SO continued to step backwards as the Complainant immediately fell forward to the ground. He shuffled to his left and then back to his right. The Complainant removed his sweater and shirt. The SO moved to his right towards Lake Shore Boulevard West with the rifle still pointed at the Complainant. With his rifle pointed at the ground, the SO moved in close to the Complainant and moved the Complainant’s clothing away. A vehicle [now determined to be driven by WO #1] made a U-turn from Lake Shore Boulevard West stopping in the entrance driveway to the plaza.
At 4:16 p.m., a police cruiser [now known to be operated by WO #2] arrived and parked on Twenty Fourth Street.
CCTV from Business #1
At 4:12 p.m., the video began. A police cruiser [now determined to be driven by the SO] entered the parking lot from Twenty Fourth Street.
At 4:13 p.m., a man [now determined to be the Complainant] walked westbound in the area of the north sidewalk east of Twenty Fourth Street.
At 4:13 p.m., the Complainant crossed over Twenty Fourth Street. The SO stopped his cruiser. The Complainant walked westbound on the sidewalk to the south of a row of about 18 rental bicycles.
At 4:13:26 p.m., the Complainant stopped and turned to look at the cruiser.
At 4:13:44 p.m., the SO exited his police cruiser. The Complainant resumed walking westbound on the north sidewalk.
At 4:13:47 p.m., the SO walked briskly, diagonally through the parking lot towards the entrance driveway from Lake Shore Boulevard West. He had his rifle pointed towards the ground.
At 4:13:49 p.m., the Complainant walked westbound on the sidewalk, and without stopping he brought the hatchet up to his waist and tossed it over the row of rental bicycles. The hatchet bounced off the ground on the interlocking brick. The Complainant turned his head to the right as if to see where the hatchet landed.
At 4:13:53 p.m., the Complainant walked a couple steps and stopped briefly. He put his hands over his head very briefly. One second later, the Complainant put his hands back down to his waist area, turned completely around and walked a few steps eastbound on the sidewalk.
At 4:13:57 p.m., the Complainant turned to his left and stepped through the row of bicycles. The SO reached the sidewalk on the east curb of the entrance driveway facing the Complainant with the barrel of his rifle up closer to 90 degrees.
At 4:13:58 p.m., the Complainant bent at the waist and picked up the hatchet with his right hand. The SO stepped towards the Complainant. About 3.7 metres separated the SO and the Complainant. The SO raised his rifle and aimed it at the Complainant. The Complainant began to step towards the SO. The SO stepped back and increased the distance between himself and the Complainant to about five metres.
At 4:14 p.m., the Complainant held the hatchet with both hands in front of him at waist level and stepped towards the SO. The SO stepped backwards over the cement curb. The Complainant moved his right hand with the hatchet down along his right thigh.
At 4:14:01 p.m., the Complainant had taken four steps, westbound, towards the SO. The SO had backed up, with the rifle pointed at the Complainant, maintaining five metres between himself and the Complainant. The Complainant held the hatchet in his right hand with the blade in front of him and the SO discharged his rifle. When the Complainant was shot by the SO, he was walking towards the SO. When the SO shot the Complainant, he was backing up away from the Complainant. At the time the SO shot the Complainant, they were about five metres apart.
At 4:14:02 p.m., the Complainant stumbled forward to his knees. The SO backed up close to the west curb of the entrance driveway with his rifle aimed at the Complainant.
At 4:14:13 p.m., the Complainant sat on the ground, removed his hooded sweater and his shirt. The SO moved to the left and then to his right with his rifle aimed at the Complainant.
At 4:14:45 p.m., the Complainant laid down on his stomach.
At 4:14:49 p.m., the SO appeared to eject the magazine from his rifle and then pick it up.
At 4:15:16 p.m., a vehicle [now determined to be driven by WO #1] slowed.
At 4:15:21 p.m., the SO approached the Complainant and moved the clothing.
At 4:15:36 p.m., WO #1 pulled up and blocked the entrance driveway.
At 4:16 p.m., the SO picked up the hatchet and tossed it further to the east.
At 4:16:04 p.m., a police cruiser [now known to be operated by WO #2] arrived, after which additional police officers arrived and tended to the Complainant.
CCTV from Business #2
When the video commenced the shooting had already occurred, the private vehicle of WO #1 was already parked on Lake Shore Boulevard West blocking the driveway and, thereby, blocking any view of the Complainant who was, by the time the video commenced, lying on the ground. The SO circled around the Complainant. Sixteen seconds after the video commenced, WO #3 arrived. The clip of the video was about 90 seconds in length.
Civilian’s DashCam Video
The video captured the Complainant as he walked westbound on the sidewalk alongside the row of rental bicycles after the SO had arrived and commenced his engagement with the Complainant. The SO walked diagonally through the parking lot towards the driveway with his rifle pointed down at the ground. The SO walked to the east curb of the driveway. The Complainant stopped and turned, and took a few steps eastbound, then stepped through the row of bicycles. The video ended before the Complainant picked up the hatchet and before the SO shot the Complainant.
TPS BWCThe SO’s BWC
The camera appeared to be situated in the centre chest area of the SO. The video was dated December 3, 2020 and captured the following:
At 4:09:28 p.m., the SO was driving to the scene.
At 4:09:58 p.m., the audio commenced. The police cruiser siren was heard as well as transmissions from the police radio.
At 4:12:24 p.m., the SO reported over the police radio he was arriving on scene. He turned off his emergency lights and siren. He turned right onto Twenty Fourth Street and left into the parking lot of the plaza at 3260 Lake Shore Boulevard West. The SO stopped the police cruiser. The SO used the police radio and called the dispatcher. The dispatcher told the SO to standby because she was on the phone.
At 4:13 p.m., the SO turned left into a parking spot on the south side of a plaza facing south then backed out of the parking spot and turned to the east. He moved forward slightly so his police cruiser was facing east towards Twenty Fourth Street. The SO’s police cruiser was now in the same position in which it was found during the SIU scene examination.
At 4:13:10 p.m., the SO pressed a button on his Mobile Work Station.
At 4:13:17 p.m., the SO used his police radio to report, “I gotta a male with a hatchet coming at me.” The police radio was busy with other radio traffic and the SO was not getting through. The Complainant was walking westbound on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard West crossing Twenty Fourth Street and about 20 metres away from the SO. The Complainant was looking in the direction of the SO.
At 4:13:25 p.m., the Complainant walked on the north sidewalk almost even with the police cruiser and about 11 metres south of the SO.
At 4:13:27 p.m., the Complainant stopped on the sidewalk, turned, and looked directly at the SO. The SO turned slightly towards the Complainant and repeated on the police radio, “I gotta male with a hatchet coming at me.” The dispatcher asked the SO to confirm his location.
At 4:13:37 p.m., the SO removed the rifle from the harness and exited his police cruiser.
At 4:13:44 p.m., the SO walked to the west around the rear of the police cruiser with the rifle in front of him. He looked at the Complainant and commanded the Complainant to, “Put it on the ground…put it on the ground now…put it on the ground.”
At 4:13:46 p.m., the Complainant moved slightly west and was on the north sidewalk near the row of rental bicycles. The SO brought the rifle up in front of his BWC camera, where it continued to bounce around as he walked; the rifle obstructed the view from the camera for the most part. The rifle appeared to be pointed at an angle of about 45 degrees to the ground. The SO faced the Complainant and walked to his right, in a southwest direction, towards the driveway entrance.
At 4:13:50 p.m., there was no view of the Complainant due to the rifle being in front of the SO’s BWC. The SO said, “Get on the ground…Get on the ground…now.” Then he said, “Go down…on your stomach.” The SO said, “Don’t reach for that.”
At 4:13:56 p.m., the SO reached the area of the north sidewalk where it crossed the driveway entrance into the plaza, just west of the row of rental bicycles. The Complainant was not on the sidewalk and not visible on the BWC due to the position of the rifle. The SO moved slightly to his left and forward towards the far east side of the driveway about 2.5 metres from the west end of the row of rental bicycles.
At 4:13:57 p.m., the SO raised his rifle to about parallel with the ground. The Complainant stepped to the north side of the row of bicycles. He was about five metres east of the entrance driveway. The SO said, “Don’t reach for it.” The SO stepped about 1.5 metres to the east of the east curb of the driveway and towards the Complainant. The SO said, “Don’t.” The Complainant (now visible again on the BWC camera) bent down and picked up a hatchet which was lying near a dark grassy patch in the interlocking brick. About 3.7 metres separated the SO and the Complainant.
At 4:13:59 p.m., the SO said, “Move back…Move back.” The Complainant was visible on the area of the interlocking bricks on the north side of the row of rental bicycles. He began stepping west towards the SO with the hatchet in his right hand down near his right thigh. The SO began to step backwards westbound. He increased the distance between him and the Complainant to about five metres. The Complainant took four or five steps westbound towards the SO. The Complainant walked towards the SO increasing his pace. The SO increased his pace and moved backwards across the driveway. As the Complainant moved towards the SO, and the SO backed away from the Complainant, the distance separating the SO and the Complainant was about five metres.
At 4:14:01 p.m., a single shot was discharged. The SO was in about the middle of the driveway. When the SO discharged his rifle and the Complainant was shot, about five metres separated the SO and the Complainant. The Complainant began to crumple to his knees, still moving forward. The Complainant fell to his knees along the east curb of the driveway, still holding the hatchet.
At 4:14:03 p.m., the SO took his left hand off the rifle and called over his police radio, “Shot fired, shots fired…shots fired, shots fired.” The Complainant remained on his knees and bent over at his waist with his grey hooded sweater over his head and still holding the hatchet. The SO shuffled to his left with his rifle still pointed at the Complainant.
At 4:14:10 p.m., the SO said, “Let me see your hands…Let me see your hands…back up.”
At 4:14:16 p.m., the hatchet was on the ground in front of the Complainant. The SO said, “Don’t reach for it.” The Complainant sat up and reached for the hatchet with his left hand. Four seconds later the SO said, “Don’t reach for it.”
At 4:14:21 p.m., the SO directed someone to move away. While bent over, the SO picked up the hatchet with his left hand and tossed it a very short distance to his left.
At 4:14:24 p.m., the Complainant remained kneeling, with his head down. The SO said, “Let me see your hands…lay on your stomach.”
At 4:14:26 p.m., the SO requested an ambulance. He shuffled to his right in the driveway. The SO asked the Complainant where he was injured and then told the dispatcher the Complainant had been struck in the centre abdomen. He requested a rush on the ambulance.
At 4:14:51 p.m., the SO instructed the Complainant not to reach for the hatchet.
At 4:14:57 p.m., the SO lowered his rifle. The Complainant, who was now visible again on the BWC, was lying on his back with his sweater and shirt off. The Complainant’s arms were outstretched.
At 4:15:12 p.m., the SO slung his rifle over his shoulder. The hatchet was visible where the SO had tossed it towards the west end of the row of rental bicycles. The SO moved in close to the Complainant and appeared to move the Complainant’s clothing and backpack further away. A grey Ford sedan [now known to be off-duty WO #1] pulled up to the bottom of the driveway entrance to the plaza. The BWC audio cut out for three or four seconds. The SO directed WO #1 to the location of the hatchet and sirens were heard approaching.
At 4:16 p.m., the SO picked up the hatchet from directly next to the last bicycle at the west end of the row and tossed it a few metres east. He requested the assistance of WO #2 to perform first aid on the Complainant. The SO went to his police cruiser, secured his rifle, retrieved a first aid kit and returned to the Complainant.
At 4:17 p.m., more police officers arrived and tended to the Complainant. A man’s voice asked the SO if he was okay and the SO said, “Yes.” His BWC audio cut out for about two seconds.
At 4:18 p.m., the SO appeared to ask another police officer to secure the hatchet in any police cruiser other than the SO’s.
At 4:19 p.m., he told both WO #4 and WO #2 he was okay. WO #5 approached the SO and the audio on the SO’s BWC cut out as he explained about trying to get radio airtime when he arrived.
At 4:23 p.m., the SO removed his BWC and handed it to WO #3.
WO #5’s BWC
At 4:18 p.m., WO #5 was responding to the scene.
At 4:19 p.m., he arrived on scene. WO #3 and WO #6 were bent over the Complainant providing first aid. WO #4 approached the Complainant carrying a first aid kit. WO #3 suggested someone check on the SO.
At 4:19 p.m., WO #5 and WO #2 approached the SO who was near his cruiser in the parking lot. The SO said something which was not discernable and then said he was okay. WO #5 asked the SO if he was okay and the SO seemed to acknowledge that he was. The SO said WO #1 was the first police officer on scene.
At 4:20 p.m., a female police officer approached WO #5 and the SO. The SO said, “… like I was trying to get airtime and asked like, what’s going on, and as I’m here this guy goes like this and reaches into his waistband, and he comes, comes charging at me with it, so I had my C-8 and fucking I couldn’t, couldn’t fucking back off.” As he said, “Goes like this,” the SO demonstrated with his right hand and reached to the centre of his waist.
An undesignated officer  asked the SO if he was okay and the SO said he was good. She asked the SO if this was “going to be an SIU”. The SO said, “Ya. I shot the guy.” The officer suggested the SO go to the hospital.
At 4:21 p.m., WO #5 went to the 711 store to canvass for video and witnesses. The rest of the recording was unremarkable and did not help to further the investigation.
WO #3’s BWC
The BWC audio and video recording was unremarkable and did not further the investigation.
WO #2’s BWC
At 4:15 p.m., WO #2 was responding to the scene. He arrived at 4:16 p.m., exited his cruiser and ran across the plaza parking lot to where the SO and the Complainant were. WO #1 was standing in the parking lot to the northwest of the Complainant. With the exception of the SO, no other uniform police officers or cruisers were on scene. The SO said to WO #2, “Get my medical pouch.”
The hatchet was visible on the ground near a red Chevrolet car. The SO said, “Cover him. Cover him.” WO #2 asked, “Where is he?” The SO said, “Right here.” A siren was heard approaching. WO #2 walked towards the Complainant, who was lying on his back. WO #3 arrived on scene. WO #2 asked the SO where the knife was and the SO said it was a hatchet.
At 4:19 p.m., WO #2 approached the SO, who was at the back of his police vehicle. He asked the SO if he was alright and the SO said, “Yes.” WO #2 returned to the Complainant and assisted with first aid. WO #2 got up and approached the SO again. The SO was still standing at the back of his cruiser. WO #5 also approached the SO. The SO said, “I’m good, I’m good…he came at me with a hatchet….” The SO continued but the rest of what the SO said could not be heard clearly.
After 4:20 p.m., the audio and video recording were unremarkable and added nothing further to the investigation.
WO #4’s BWC
At 4:28 p.m., WO #4 was approached by another police officer who asked him where the hatchet was. WO #4 told the police officer he had put it in his cruiser because he did not want anyone to walk away with it.
At 4:29 p.m., WO #2 asked WO #4 what he should do and WO #4 replied he was the second uniformed police officer on scene after WO #2.
For the remainder of the video, there was nothing said by any police officer regarding the incident, how it occurred, or any comments made by the SO. The video showed WO #4 maintaining scene integrity.
WO #6’s BWC
The BWC audio and video recording was unremarkable and did not advance the investigation any further.
The SO’s In-Car Camera System (ICCS) video
The video was made on December 3, 2020 and captured the following:
At 4:08:45 p.m., the SO was driving at city speed on a roadway. No audio was heard.
At 4:09:15 p.m., the audio was activated. The SO accelerated southbound on Kipling Avenue. His roof lights and siren were on. The dispatcher was heard over the police radio advising patrol units of the details of the emergency call.
At 4:10:18 p.m., the SO continued southbound and crossed over the Gardiner Expressway in the west curb lane of Kipling Avenue.
At 4:12:06 p.m., the SO turned westbound onto Lake Shore Boulevard West. Roof lights and siren were still on.
At 4:12:24 p.m., the SO continued westbound on Lake Shore Boulevard West and crossed Twenty Second Street, a traffic light-controlled intersection. He had the green light. The SO crossed Twenty Second Street and a man [now believed to be the Complainant] stood on the north sidewalk. The Complainant wore dark clothing with a distinctive teal-coloured shirt under his dark jacket. He stepped off the curb and walked into the first westbound lane of traffic. The SO drove past the Complainant.
At 4:12:29 p.m., the SO arrived at the intersection of Lake Shore Boulevard West and Twenty Fourth Street. He entered the plaza parking lot from Twenty Fourth Street. He slowed his speed and his police cruiser faced westbound in the lot. The roof lights and siren were turned off. The SO made a 3-point turn on the plaza lot, in front of the 711 store and his cruiser faced eastbound. He stopped his cruiser near the centre of the parking lot. The SO exited his cruiser and went around to the rear of the cruiser.
At 4:13:10 p.m., the Complainant crossed the intersection of Lake Shore Boulevard West at Twenty Fourth Street.
At 4:13:22 p.m., the SO (off-camera) attempted to get on the air but there was radio chatter. He announced, “Priority one I have a male with a hatchet coming at me.”
At 4:13:31 p.m., the SO repeated he had a man with a hatchet coming at him. Fifteen seconds later, the SO yelled, “Put it on the ground,” multiple times.
At 4:14:02 p.m., a single shot was heard.
At 4:14:06 p.m., the SO announced, “Shots fired, shots fired.” About 11 seconds later, the SO yelled, “Don’t reach for it. Show me your hands.”
At 4:14:28 p.m., the SO requested an ambulance and multiple police units announced, over the police radio, that they were responding to the call.
At 4:15:35 p.m., the SO advised he was out front of the 711 store and asked that the ambulance be rushed.
At 4:16:00 p.m., a police cruiser arrived with its roof lights and siren on from the east and parked on Twenty Fourth Street at the entrance to the parking lot.
At 4:19:00 p.m., off-camera, a man’s voice asked the SO if he was good.
TPS Communication Recordings
At 4:06:40 p.m., the first call to TPS was received from civilian witness, CW #6. CW #6 reported having observed the Complainant arguing with an unidentified woman in the parking lot of the 711 store at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Twenty Fourth Street.
At 4:09:07 p.m., the SO and another police officer were dispatched to the call.
At 4:12 p.m., a 911 call was received from civilian witness, CW #8, who said the Complainant was at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Twenty Fourth Street “terrorizing people”. A siren was heard in the background and CW #8 said she just saw a police officer [now known to be the SO]. The SO told the dispatcher he was “pulling up” to the area.
At 4:12:51 p.m., the SO attempted to speak to the dispatcher and she said she was on the phone.
At 4:13 p.m., there was a 911 call from civilian witness, CW #10, who reported that the Complainant had an axe.
At 4:13:29 p.m., an emergency tone was put out by the SO’s police cruiser. The SO told the dispatcher a man [now determined to be the Complainant] was coming at him with a hatchet. The dispatcher asked the SO for his location and additional police officers were dispatched.
At 4:14 p.m., there was a 911 call from CW #7 who reported having seen the Complainant shot.
At 4:14:04 p.m., the SO reported, “Shots fired,” and repeated it.
At 4:14:26 p.m., the SO requested an ambulance. He then told the dispatcher the Complainant had been shot in the centre abdomen and requested the ambulance be rushed.
At 4:15:30 p.m., the SO confirmed he was right outside of the 711 store and requested the ambulance be rushed again.
The remainder of the audio tracks were unremarkable.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the TPS:
- Communications Recordings;
- Emotionally Disturbed Persons policy;
- Entity List;
- General Occurrence and Supplementary reports;
- Injury Report – the Complainant;
- Notes of the WOs;
- The SO Training Record;
- TPS-Firearm Discharge Report;
- TPS Computer-assisted Dispatch;
- TPS Property Receipt - Clothing;
- TPS BWC Recordings;
- TPS ICCS video; and
- Use of Force policy.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- CCTV from Humber College and two businesses;
- The Complainant’s Medical Records; and
- DashCam Video from a civilian.
At about 4:12 p.m. on December 3, 2020, the SO arrived in the lot of a plaza at the northwest corner of Lake Shore Boulevard West and Twenty Fourth Street. He parked his cruiser facing east toward Twenty Fourth Street, exited with a C8 rifle and confronted the Complainant, walking west toward him on the north sidewalk of Lake Shore Boulevard West. The Complainant was holding a hatchet. At about 4:14 p.m., less than a minute after he had exited his vehicle, the SO fired his weapon at the Complainant. The bullet struck the Complainant in the abdomen.
The Complainant was intoxicated by alcohol at the time of these events. Shortly before the shooting, the Complainant became embroiled in a public argument with a woman in and around the parking lot at the northwest corner of Lake Shore boulevard West and Twenty Fourth Street. Thereafter, he approached and threatened a number of motorists and passersby in the area.
Beginning at 4:06 p.m., multiple 911 calls began to be received by the TPS reporting the Complainant’s strange and threatening behaviour.
The SO was among the officers dispatched to the scene and the first to arrive. The officer positioned his cruiser facing east toward Twenty Fourth Street, just south of the east driveway entrance to the plaza parking lot, and reported over the radio the presence of a male – the Complainant – walking toward him with a hatchet. The Complainant was walking west on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard West crossing Twenty Fourth Street.
The SO exited his cruiser with a C8 rifle in hand, went around the rear of his vehicle and confronted the Complainant as the Complainant was now past Twenty Fourth Street and south of the cruiser. The officer yelled at the Complainant to drop the hatchet. The Complainant did so, throwing it in the direction of a bike rack to his right. Within seconds, however, the Complainant retrieved the hatchet from behind the bike rack despite the SO’s directions that he not “reach for it”.
With the hatchet again in his right hand, the Complainant began to advance westward toward the SO. The officer repeatedly ordered the Complainant to “move back” as he walked backward to maintain space between the two. With a distance of about five metres separating the two, the SO fired his C8 rifle while retreating at the Complainant. About three or four seconds had elapsed from the time the Complainant had picked up the knife.
The discharge felled the Complainant, who dropped to his knees. The SO moved in, picked up the hatchet from the ground, and flung it a short distance further east of the Complainant’s body. It would later be picked up by another officer arriving at the scene and placed in his cruiser for safekeeping.
The hatchet had a yellow and black handle and was about 39 centimetres in length.
The SO radioed for an ambulance. Other officers began to arrive at the scene and rendered first aid to the Complainant pending the arrival of firefighters and paramedics.
The Complainant had been shot in the centre abdomen. He was taken from the scene to hospital.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(a) as a private person,(b) as a peace officer or public officer,(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or(d) by virtue of his office,
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were required or authorized to do by law. In the case of lethal force, section 25(3) further provides that such force will not be justified unless the officer in question reasonably believed it was necessary for his or her self-preservation from death or grievous bodily harm. I am unable to reasonably conclude on the evidence gathered by the SIU that the SO’s shooting of the Complainant does not attract the protection of section 25.
There is little doubt that the SO was in the execution of his lawful duties when he confronted the Complainant on the northwest corner of Lake Shore Boulevard West and Twenty Fourth Street and sought to take him into custody. The officer had good reason to believe that the male he saw approaching him with a hatchet was the same individual who had threatened persons in the area with a weapon and prompted multiple 911 calls. The Complainant was clearly subject to arrest.
I am further satisfied that the SO held a genuine belief at the time he pulled the trigger of his C8 rifle that it was necessary to shoot the Complainant to protect himself from an imminent threat to life and limb. While there is no direct evidence of the officer’s mindset to this effect, the SO having chosen not to provide a statement to the SIU, the circumstances surrounding the shooting strongly suggest such a conclusion. Those same circumstances, outlined in some detail below, further establish the reasonableness of the SO’s belief.
The hatchet brandished by the Complainant was clearly capable of inflicting grievous injury and death. Moreover, there was no innocent explanation for the Complainant’s possession of the item. To the contrary, it is apparent that the Complainant had threatened persons with the weapon prior to the SO’s arrival. While the SO would not have known the full scope of the Complainant’s behaviour prior to his arrival, the officer certainly would have quickly appreciated in the brief period before the shooting that the Complainant constituted a present danger to people around him. That knowledge and the Complainant’s prior conduct lend credence to the existence of a real risk of violence that would have prevailed at the time of the shooting.
The SO’s use of a firearm was also a commensurate response to the jeopardy he was facing. The officer had given the Complainant reasonable opportunity to drop the hatchet, even retreating a distance as the Complainant picked up his pace and advanced toward him. Regrettably, though the Complainant initially threw the hatchet away, he picked it up shortly thereafter and moved toward the SO with a level of resolve. Might the officer have continued his retreat or withdrawn from the situation entirely? Perhaps, but I am unable to conclude that the officer acted unreasonably in failing to do so. They were in a public space with third parties in the area and the Complainant had already shown a willingness to use the hatchet to threaten others. In the circumstances, disengagement would likely have placed persons in the vicinity at continuing risk. Nor am I persuaded that there were other options short of lethal force available to the SO that necessarily ought to have been used ahead of a resort to gunfire. The SO was the only officer on scene at the time faced with an aggressive individual moving in his direction with a dangerous weapon. While it is conceivable that lesser force, such as a CEW, might have been successful in thwarting the threat, I am unable to conclude that the SO acted out of proportion when he matched the Complainant’s hatchet with a lethal option of his own. Finally, at a distance of about five metres from the officer and still advancing when the shot was fired, I am satisfied that the SO was at imminent risk of being attacked with a hatchet when he shot the Complainant.
For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO acted without legal justification when he shot and injured the Complainant. More specifically, there is insufficient evidence to reasonably believe that the SO shot the Complainant other than under a reasonable apprehension at the time that doing so was necessary to protect himself from death or grievous bodily harm. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the SO.
Date: March 22, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The officer was not designated as a witness official because she arrived at the scene after the shooting. [Back to text]
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.