SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OFD-040

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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving an official where there has been death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act), officials are defined as police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act. The SIU’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

Pursuant 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 Act

Pursuant 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, 2004

Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information 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.

Mandate Engaged

Pursuant to section 15 of the SIU Act, the SIU may investigate the conduct of officials, be they police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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 the death of a 37-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On February 6, 2021, the York Regional Police (YRP) contacted the SIU and reported the firearm-related death of the Complainant.

The YRP advised that on February 6, 2021, at about 2:30 p.m., YRP police officers responded to a weapons call at Ridge Gate Crescent, Mount Albert, in East Gwillimbury. Upon arrival, police officers located a deceased pregnant woman on the ground at the front door of the residence. Two police officers forced their way into the residence and found the Complainant holding a child suffering from abdominal slash wounds. The Complainant was armed with a knife. He was subsequently shot and killed by police. A second child was located suffering from stab wounds to the back, and another woman suffering from unknown injuries. The children had been transported to Sick Kids Hospital and the woman had been transported to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. It was believed that only one police officer discharged his firearm.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 02/06/2021 at 5:37 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 02/06/2021 at 7:09 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 3

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

37-year-old male, deceased

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Deceased
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

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between February 6, 2021, and February 17, 2021.

Subject Officials

SO #1 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.
SO #2 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.

The subject officials were interviewed on February 12, 2021. 

Witness Officials

WO Interviewed

The witness official was interviewed on February 7, 2021. 


Evidence

The Scene

The scene at Ridge Gate Crescent was a single-family brick bungalow with an attached double car garage. There was a walkway with steps that led from the side of the driveway to a covered entrance porch. There were two vehicles parked in the driveway. The first was a red Toyota Rav-4, 4-door SUV. There was a pool of blood in front of the vehicle on the sidewalk. The second vehicle was a Dodge grey van. A paramedic bag and equipment were located behind this vehicle.

Located on the driveway at the walkway to the main entry stairs to the front door was a blue-coloured tarp covering a deceased identified as CW #1. There was a large amount of bloodstaining in the snow on the north side of the steps leading to the front entry door. A large silver-handled butcher style knife was on the north side of the lower step. The front raised porch was heavily bloodstained with staining on the right-side door jamb as well as the entranceway. The front door opened inwards to the entrance hallway.


Figure 1 - The large silver butcher's knife located outside the residence.

Figure 1 - The large silver butcher's knife located outside the residence.


There was a small throw rug at the entrance way. A silver-handled knife, similar in design to the butcher style knife on the entry step, was on the carpet on the right side. To the right upon entering the residence there was a stairwell that led to an unfinished basement. Minimal bloodstaining was found in the basement area and there was no evidence of any struggle that may have occurred in the lower level.


Figure 2 - The paring knife located inside the residence’s entranceway.

Figure 2 - The paring knife located inside the residence’s entranceway.


There was a break in the drywall on the north wall of the hall at the entrance to the bathroom, 145 to 155 cm from the floor and 18 to 30 cm east of the entrance to the bathroom. The shape of the indentation was similar to having been caused by a head. The bathroom appeared undisturbed. West of the bathroom was the entrance to a bedroom. The bedding was bunched up on top of the bed. Pillows were on the floor of the bedroom but there did not appear to be any evidence of a struggle.


Figure 3 - The broken drywall near the entranceway.

Figure 3 - The broken drywall near the entranceway.


There was a slight change of the hall to the left (south) and then it continued to the west. There was a small table in the hall on the right (north) side with numerous pictures and candlesticks that appeared to be undisturbed. Continuing to the west there was an entranceway to the left (south) that led to two bedrooms. The main hall continued to the west and into the dining room. There was a small bloodstain on the seat of a chair in front of the east wall. Nothing appeared disturbed in the dining room. Continuing west one entered an open concept kitchen/family room. There was a pair of glasses on the floor at the entranceway. There was a doorway leading to a small laundry room storage room on the south side. There was an apparent bullet exit and entry in the southeast corner (to be reported in further detail).

The kitchen had a stand-alone island that was cluttered, and objects were on the floor. The floor was also bloodstained. The family room occupied the southwest corner. The sofa in front of the west wall/window was askew and heavily bloodstained. There was a broken knife blade (missing the handle) on the couch. Bloodstaining was on the wood window shutters behind the couch. There was a knife block on the north countertop of the kitchen containing the same knives as found on the front step and entry hall floor. The knives were “KENKEL” with 8 open spots on the block. Two of the knives were located on the counter in front of the knife block. Two knives were in the kitchen sink.


Figure 4 - The knife blade that was located on a couch in the family room.

Figure 4 - The knife blade that was located on a couch in the family room.


The master bedroom and ensuite occupied the southwest corner of the main floor and the room door was on the west wall of the hall on the north side. The door opened inward hinged on the right side. There was a king size bed in the middle of the room and in front of the east wall. The floor at the entranceway was bloodstained. Two 40 calibre cartridge cases were located on the floor and at the south side of the entranceway. Exhibit 1 and exhibit 2 were just into the room and north of the bed. There was bloodstaining to the north side of the bed. There were two dressers in front of the north wall and a television mounted to the west wall, which was on.


Figure 5 - The two .40 calibre cartridge cases located near the master bedroom's entrance.

Figure 5 - The two .40 calibre cartridge cases located near the master bedroom's entrance.


There was a bullet strike on the west wall between the television and entrance to the ensuite. Two 40 calibre cartridge cases (exhibits 3 and 4) were located on the floor and in front of the dresser in the northwest corner. The Complainant, deceased, was located on his back in front of the west wall and entranceway to the ensuite. His head was to the south and his feet to the north with his left foot against the west wall. He was clothed in a black/grey-coloured ROOTS hooded sweatshirt with front hand pockets, blue jeans bloodstained with a black belt, and white socks (soles bloodstained). A coroner’s tag was affixed to his right ankle. The sweatshirt was pulled upward towards his head with electrocardiogram (ECG) patches affixed to his torso. There was an apparent bullet strike to his left chest below his nipple. His head was heavily bloodstained with an apparent bullet strike to the upper left eye area. His left shoulder was against a dresser that was in the southwest corner of the room. Heavy bloodstaining was on the floor on either side of his head. The Complainant had his hands handcuffed behind his back.


Figure 6 - The two cartridge cases located inside the master bedroom near the Complainant's body.

Figure 6 - The two cartridge cases located inside the master bedroom near the Complainant's body.


A silver-handled paring knife (similar to the knife in the knife block as well as the knife at the entrance step and in the entrance hall) was located on the floor and west of the Complainant (at the south side entranceway to the ensuite). The knife measured 21 cm (blade 8.5 cm, handle 12.5 cm).


Figure 7 - The paring knife located near the Complainant's body.

Figure 7 - The paring knife located near the Complainant's body.

Bullet strike (BS) 1

Located on the west wall of the master bedroom between the television and entranceway to the ensuite. It was located 183 cm from the floor and 44 cm right (north) of the entranceway to the ensuite. The hole was circular and measured 1 cm in diameter. The bullet exited in the east wall of the laundry room 182.5 cm from the floor and 9.5 cm north of the south wall. The bullet re-entered the south laundry room 184 cm from the ground and 31 cm west of the east wall. The bullet lodged in a wood stud and was removed as exhibit 6. The trajectory for BS1 was 4.5 degree upwards and at a right to left (73-degree angle). The trajectory would be consistent with someone shooting from the entranceway to the master bedroom in the area where exhibits 1 and 2 were recovered.


Figure 8 - A rod placed through the bullet strike to the master bedroom's wall to demonstrate its trajectory.

Figure 8 - A rod placed through the bullet strike to the master bedroom's wall to demonstrate its trajectory.


Figure 9 - A rod demonstrating the bullet's trajectory in the laundry room.

Figure 9 - A rod demonstrating the bullet's trajectory in the laundry room.


Figure 10 - The bullet that was removed from the wall in the laundry room.

Figure 10 - The bullet that was removed from the wall in the laundry room.

Scene Diagram

Scene diagram

Physical Evidence

The following items were obtained by the SIU in the course of the investigation:
  • Speer 40 Cal S&W cartridge case - master bedroom (x4);
  • Swab of bloodstain – master bedroom;
  • Projectile from wood stud;
  • Uniform boots - Cobra Lace Black – SO #1;
  • Uniform pants;
  • Uniform jacket;
  • External vest cover with attached pouch with tourniquet, whistle and tube of anti-bacterial cream;
  • Uniform shirt;
  • YRP T-shirt;
  • YRP hat and badge;
  • Black leather gloves;
  • Surgical mask;
  • Inner duty belt;
  • Duty belt with conducted energy weapon (CEW) holster, handcuff pouch, radio pouch, ASP pouch, OC pouch, glove pouch, Glock pistol holster and double magazine pouch;
  • ASP baton;
  • Nitrile glove pack;
  • OC Sabre Defense Spray;
  • 2 x Glock magazines with 30 x 40 Cal S&W cartridges;
  • Glock 22 40 Cal Pistol;

Figure 11 - The Glock pistol.

Figure 11 - The Glock pistol.
  • Breach Speer 40 Cal S&W cartridge;
  • Glock magazine (Duty) with 13 x 40 Cal S&W cartridges;
  • Black Danner Lace Boots – SO #2;
  • Uniform Pants;
  • YRP jacket;
  • External vest cover-panels removed with radio holder, flashlight and handcuffs;
  • Short sleeve uniform shirt;
  • Black gloves;
  • Duty belt with oleoresin capsicum spray (OC) in pouch, handcuff pouch, CEW holster, ASP holster, Glock holster, flashlight in pouch and double magazine pouch;
  • Mark 3 tactical OC;
  • Peerless handcuffs;
  • ASP baton;
  • Scorpion flashlight;
  • 2 x Glock magazines with 30 x 40 Cal S&W cartridges;
  • Glock 22 40 Cal Pistol with attached Streamlight;


Figure 12 - The Glock pistol with attached Streamlight.

Figure 12 - The Glock pistol with attached Streamlight.
  • Breach Speer 40 Cal S&W cartridge;
  • Glock magazine with 13 x 40 Cal S&W cartridges;
  • Black Lowa Lace Boots – the WO;
  • YRP-Grey tactical jacket;
  • Grey tactical pants;
  • YRP K-9 shirt;
  • Peerless handcuffs;
  • Blue jeans, Denver Hayes with black belt – the Complainant;
  • White socks;
  • Plaid boxer shorts;
  • Black/grey hooded Roots sweatshirt with pocket slides;
  • White athletic T-shirt;
  • Medic debris, ECG pads;
  • Empty Belmont cigarette package;
  • Cell phone;
  • Left fingernail clippings;
  • Right fingernail clippings;
  • Left hand swab;
  • Right hand swab;
  • Blood swab for DNA;
  • Pulled head hair;
  • Pulled pubic hair;
  • Projectile forehead;
  • Bullet fragment from brain;
  • Projectile from right shoulder; and
  • Projectile right side back.

Forensic Evidence

The results of firearms examinations by the CFS remain pending as of the date of this report.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]


911 Calls

On February 6, 2021, the YRP received four 911 calls relating to this incident.

2:25 p.m. – male caller (9:59 minutes in duration)

The man reported he lived on Ridge Gate Crescent. He said his neighbour [known to be CW #3] had just come to his house and said his (CW #3’s) brother-in-law [known to be the Complainant] had just stabbed his wife. The man did not see what had happened. He identified the address as the scene on Ridge Gate Crescent. The man passed the phone to CW #3.

CW #3 told the 911 operator there was a four-year-old and a two-year-old in the house. He did not know if the children had been stabbed. He said a pregnant woman [known to be CW #1] had been stabbed by her husband (The Complainant). He said his wife, CW #4, had also been stabbed by the Complainant and was lying on the driveway. He identified CW #4 as the sister of the Complainant. He said CW #4 was getting stabbed on the driveway while he was getting everyone into his neighbour’s house. She was lying on the driveway, bleeding. He thought the Complainant had gone back into the house. He described the knife as a big kitchen knife, about six inches long. He did not know if the Complainant still had it. He said the two children and CW #1 were in the house with the Complainant. He said CW #1 had been stabbed inside the house. CW #3 had not been injured. He identified the Complainant and provided his birthdate. The Complainant was wearing a grey tee-shirt and track pants. The Complainant’s other two children were with CW #3 at the neighbour’s house. CW #3’s son was also there. He was not able to see his wife on the driveway. He did not know where she had gone or how she had moved.

At 08:25 minutes into the call, the 911 operator advised that one police officer had arrived. CW #3 acknowledged that he could see the police officer [now known to have been SO #1].

Children could be heard crying throughout the call.

2:26 p.m. – female caller (8:01 minutes in duration)

The woman said she had been driving on Ridge Gate Crescent on her way to work when she was flagged down by a man on the road. The man told her there had been a murder. She initially gave the address incorrectly but then confirmed it was the address on Ridge Gate Crescent. She reported seeing two women lying on the driveway, one in her seventies and the other in her fifties. The older lady was near the front step and unconscious. The younger one was still moving, lying on the driveway. Both had been stabbed. She saw two small children, one about 2-years-old and the other nine or ten. One of the children was wearing shorts and came out of the house. She saw a man [known to be the Complainant] come out of the house with a knife. He took the child back inside. She said the knife looked like a kitchen knife. She said the Complainant was in the house stabbing the children. She could not see inside or hear anything from inside the house. She did not see the Complainant stab the two women.

2:27 p.m. – CW #6 (1:04 minutes in duration)

CW #6 advised he lived near the scene on Ridge Gate Crescent. He had heard screaming outside and seen a woman on the porch of the house to the south of his home. The woman had blood on her, and he saw blood on the sidewalk. He did not know if the woman had fallen.

2:32 p.m. – female caller (2:01 minutes in duration)

The caller only identified herself by her first name. She said she had looked out her window and saw a man and a woman on the ground, both were bleeding. The call was concluded as police and ambulance had arrived.


YRP Radio Communications

The times noted have been obtained from the YRP call history for the incident in question on February 6, 2021. These times are for reference only and do not precisely reflect the times of the radio transmissions. The recorded radio transmissions provided by the YRP began after SO #1 arrived at the scene at Ridge Gate Crescent.

At 2:33:51 p.m., SO #1 broadcast he had one person down with stab wounds.

At 2:34:59 p.m., SO #1 broadcast, “I’ve got two down, I’ve got the suspect and child inside.” SO #2 advised that SO #1 was negotiating with the suspect. The remainder of his transmission was indiscernible.

At 2:37:42 p.m., SO #2 advised there was a woman [known to be CW #1] vital signs absent (VSA) at the front door, another woman stabbed [known to be CW #4] and the suspect [known to be the Complainant] had the child. He further broadcast that the Complainant had dropped the child and that SO #1 was negotiating with him.

At 2:38:53 p.m., SO #2 radioed, “Shots fired, shots fired, suspect down.” SO #1 radioed, “Shots fired, I need EMS in here stat.”

At 2:39:03 p.m., SO #1 advised he had two children inside that had been stabbed. He said he needed the medics in the house - he had a little one (child) who had been transected and his intestines were exposed. SO #2 radioed in an urgent voice to get an ambulance there. A child could be heard crying during the transmission.
At 2:47:07 p.m., a unit broadcast that he would be accompanying a two-year-old child in the ambulance. A second unit advised he would be doing the emergency run with the ambulance.

At 2:48:42 p.m., SO #1 advised the house had been cleared and there were no other victims inside. He further advised that the Complainant was deceased inside and asked for an available paramedic to attend inside to double-check the Complainant. A unit asked SO #1, on behalf of the paramedics, how long the knife’s blade was. SO #1 advised it was a kitchen knife with about a four-inch blade. He (the Complainant) had two of them.


In-car camera system (ICCS) – SO #1

SO #1 was operating a fully marked Ford F150 pickup truck. The first radio transmission was heard at 2:28:48 p.m. The dispatcher broadcast that the suspect [known to be the Complainant] was still inside an address [the address is known to be the scene at Ridge Gate Crescent]. The officer’s ICCS was activated at 2:29:18 p.m. He was seen to be driving north on Highway 48 and turning right onto Mt. Albert Road.

While responding to the scene, the dispatcher provided additional information that a younger woman was on the ground, not moving, and an older woman had collapsed and was not moving. The suspect was 45 years of age, named [the Complainant], born in 1983. The dispatcher further advised the Complainant had a kitchen knife, and that there was a four-year-old (child) and a two-year-old in the house. Yelling could be heard from inside the home.

SO #1 arrived at 2:33:35 p.m., parking his police vehicle in front of the driveway. A red SUV was seen to be parked at the foot of the driveway. A van was parked further up the driveway. SO #1 radioed, “Dispatch I’ve got one person down with stab wounds.” He could be heard exiting his police vehicle. SO #1 was heard asking, “Where’s the guy that did this?” He was answered by a man [believed to be CW #5] who could not be seen in the camera’s view. The ICCS did not clearly record CW #5’s response. Another man’s voice [known to be paramedic CW #7] was heard to say, “I’m going to bring her to me.”

SO #1 was heard to yell out, “Police, police, put the child down.” A child could be heard crying. SO #1 then broadcast, “I’ve got two down, suspect and child inside.”

SO #1 was heard to say, “Sir, can we talk about this.” He was heard calling out to the Complainant, but the ICCS did not pick up the words.

At 2:35 p.m., the Complainant was heard yelling, “Poison. Poison. Shoot me, shoot me.” SO #1 could be heard asking him to put the child down and telling the Complainant not to do that.

At 2:36:50 p.m., SO #2 was heard to broadcast that SO #1 was negotiating with the suspect. SO #2 was not seen to arrive and never entered the ICCS’s view. SO #2 radioed there was a woman VSA at the front door and a woman stabbed, and that the suspect had the child. He told the Complainant to drop the child. SO #1 continued to negotiate with the Complainant. A child could be heard crying.

At 2:38:32 p.m., a gunshot was heard. A second shot was heard at 2:38:33 p.m., a third at 2:38:37 p.m. and a fourth at 2:38:38 p.m. Immediately following the gunshots, SO #1 radioed that shots had been fired and the suspect was down. Both SO #1 and SO #2 radioed for ambulances to attend.


Cell Phone Footage – CW #5

CW #5 provided two short video segments that he had taken on his cellular telephone while on February 6, 2021, at approximately 2:30 p.m.

First Segment (30 seconds)

CW #5 was physically positioned on the sidewalk diagonally opposite the residence on Ridge Gate Crescent where the incident occurred. A paramedic was seen standing behind a grey minivan parked in the driveway. The front door of the residence was open and there was an ambulance unit in the foreground with the emergency roof lights activated. Children could be heard screaming in the background.

At the two second time stamp, CW #5 said, “Somebody got shot,” which was followed by the sound of a gunshot and then a second gunshot at the four second time stamp.

At the six second time stamp, a police officer was seen stepping out of the front door entrance of Ridge Gate Crescent and then stepping back into the front entrance out of view. The paramedic behind the minivan could be seen continuing to assess or aid someone on the ground.

The remainder of the footage panned to the snow along the sidewalk where CW #5 was positioned.

Second Segment (6 seconds)

The footage depicted SO #2 running down Ridge Gate Crescent with a child in his arms towards the ambulance staging area. A YRP pick-up truck with its emergency lights and siren activated is seen and heard driving onto Ridge Gate Crescent from Vivian Creek. The remainder of the footage panned down to the asphalt roadway.


Cell Phone Video Footage – CW #6

This video was recorded by CW #6 using his cellular phone. CW #6 was on a front porch holding the phone around the corner of a house. The view was obstructed by two pickup trucks parked in the driveways of houses near the scene on Ridge Gate Crescent. The front porch of the scene on Ridge Gate Crescent was visible. SO #1 was seen at the front of the porch speaking to someone inside the house [known to have been the Complainant].

Paramedic, CW #7, was seen near the end of the driveway; however, he was blocked from the camera’s view by the pickup trucks. CW #7 was heard to say, “Hey, can we move her out to me.” SO #1 was heard to say, “No, no, no, no, come here.” SO #1 then stepped onto the porch near the front door. He said, “Sir come on out. Sir, sir, no.” The Complainant was heard to say, “(inaudible) whatever, you’re going to fucking kill me.” SO #1 replied, “Why? Can we talk about this? Put the child down sir. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you sir. Sir.” 

The Complainant could be heard talking but his words were indiscernible. He then yelled, “Poison, poison.” SO #1 said, “You’re not poison,” and the Complainant replied, “Poison, I’ve got the fucking (indiscernible) right here. Shoot me (indiscernible).” The Complainant was screaming as if in a rage.

SO #1 was heard pleading with him several times to put the child down. The Complainant continued to shout, “Shoot me, shoot me right now.” SO #1 told the Complainant, “Not in front of the child sir.” SO #1 was heard saying, “I’m asking. I’m begging you sir. Please do not do this. You are not poison.” SO #1 stepped into the doorway and was no longer visible.

At 1:40 minutes into the recording, SO #2 was seen to arrive at the front porch. His gun was visible in his right hand. SO #2 went to the front door, quickly spoke to SO #1 and then stepped back off the porch. SO #2 bent down and examined CW #1 (she was not visible because of the parked pickup trucks). Paramedic CW #7 could not be seen but was heard to ask SO #2 if he could bring her (CW #1) out to him. SO #2 spoke into his portable radio. SO #1 was standing in the doorway (his arm was visible to the camera), and the Complainant continued to yell that he was poison. SO #1 was heard to say, “Can you hear me?” The Complainant yelled, “Fuck it (indiscernible) do it. Do it or I’ll fucking drop the child.” An infant child could be heard crying. At 03:10 minutes, SO #2 stepped onto the porch and entered the house. He was heard to say, “Buddy please. How many people in the house?”

Cell phone video recording - forty-one seconds in duration

This video clip was a continuation of the previous video recorded on CW #6’s cellular phone. At 1 second, a gunshot was heard. A second shot was heard at 3 seconds. At 5 seconds, SO #2 returned to the front porch, then quickly re-entered the house. Paramedic CW #7 attended to CW #1. He was heard reporting via his radio that he had one VSA woman and one with a stab wound to the shoulder. CW #7 began dragging CW #1 by the legs toward the roadway. A baby could be heard crying.

Cell phone video recording - fifty-five seconds in duration

This video clip was a continuation of the previous video recorded on CW #6’s cellular phone. SO #2 could be seen on the roadway holding a child. He spoke to the paramedics and then ran south down Ridge Gate Crescent and east on Vivian Creek Road with the child. SO #1 came out of the house and handed a child to paramedic CW #7. SO #1 returned into the house. A police officer wearing a tactical uniform [known to be the WO] arrived and entered the house behind SO #1.


Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera from nearby residence - twenty-one seconds in duration

This video clip appeared to have been recorded from a stationary CCTV camera. A lady and a young boy were heard having a conversation. The young boy said he could hear people screaming outside. CW #4 could be seen lying partially on the sidewalk at the foot of the driveway of the scene at Ridge Gate Crescent. She was at the front of a red vehicle parked at the end of the driveway. She could be seen moving.


CCTV camera from nearby residence - twenty-eight seconds in duration

This video clip was from the same vantage point as the previous clip. SO #1’s police pickup truck was seen parked facing north in front of the scene at Ridge Gate Crescent, slightly south of the driveway. Its emergency lights were activated. A small red SUV was parked at the foot of the driveway facing the house. Paramedic CW #7 could be seen dropping the body of CW #1 onto a snowbank at the southeast corner of the driveway. CW #7 walked back toward the house.


Doorbell camera at the front door of nearby residence - one minute and six seconds in duration

CW #6 exited the house, walked to the edge of his porch, looked to the south and walked back inside. A woman could be heard saying something to the effect of, “Ow, ow.” A black Jeep was seen driving south on Ridge Gate Crescent and stopping in front of the home.


Doorbell camera at the front door of nearby residence - one minute and six seconds in duration

This recording captured a view of CW #6 leaning around the corner filming on his cellular phone. Four gunshots were heard at 6, 8, 12 and 13 seconds. A neighbour came out onto his front porch. CW #6 told him they (the police) just shot him and there was a lady with a stab wound in her shoulder.


Home Security Footage – Ridge Gate Crescent

The CCTV footage commenced at 2:23 p.m. There was no time stamp on the recording; however, there was a running time of 17:58 minutes. This security camera was located on the north side of the road, approximately 160 metres northeast of the scene on Ridge Gate Crescent. There was no view of the scene. A CCTV camera was situated at the front of the house with a view to the south and to the east.

At 01:19 minutes, the sound of women screaming could be heard in the distance. The screaming became louder and then quiet at 01:51 minutes. At 11:45 minutes a man could be heard yelling. It is unknown what was said. At 12:33 minutes a siren could be heard approaching. The siren stopped at 13:10 minutes. At 13:45 minutes loud talking could be heard in the distance. The words were indiscernible. At 15:39 minutes a gunshot was heard followed by another at 15:40 minutes. A third gunshot was heard at 15:44 minutes followed by a fourth at 15:46 minutes. No further evidence was captured on the CCTV footage.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the YRP:
  • Notes of the WO;
  • YRP - SO #2's Unit History;
  • YRP - the WO’s Unit History;
  • YRP Policy-Intimate Partner Violence;
  • YRP Policy-Use of Force;
  • YRP - SO #1’s Unit History;
  • YRP Training Records for SO #1 and SO #2;
  • YRP -Call History;
  • ICCS recording – SO #1;
  • YRP Civilian Statements (x5);
  • YRP - General Occurrence; and
  • YRP - List of Officer and Duties.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
  • Ambulance call reports (x12);
  • EMS Records-York Region Paramedic Services; and
  • Reports by Paramedics (x15).

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with SO #1, SO #2 and several civilian witnesses. The investigation was also assisted by police communication recordings and video recordings that captured the incident in parts. Starting at about 2:25 p.m. of February 6, 2021, the YRP began to receive 911 calls about a stabbing incident at Ridge Gate Crescent in Mount Albert. The first of these calls came from a man at a neighbouring residence. Moments prior, he had received into his home CW #2, CW #3 and three kids fleeing from the house next door. CW #3 – CW #2’s son-in-law – told him that the Complainant – CW #2’s son – had stabbed his mother (CW #2) and wife (CW #1), and CW #4 – CW #3’s fiancée. CW #3 conveyed this information to the 911 call-taker and noted that the Complainant was inside the home with two of his children – a four- and two-year-old. Officers were dispatched to the address.

SO #1 was the first officer at the scene at about 2:33 p.m. He and a paramedic, arriving at the same time, went to CW #4, who was lying on the driveway of the home behind a minivan. When asked, CW #4 told the officer that the Complainant was inside the home. SO #1 approached the front door and passed by CW #1 lying on the front porch. She was covered in blood and obviously deceased. With his gun in hand, SO #1 opened the unlocked door and observed the Complainant in the hallway several metres away from him.

At the sight of the officer, the Complainant, who was holding his young child against his chest with his left arm, screamed at SO #1 to kill him. The child had a severe knife wound to the back, through which his intestines were protruding. SO #1 replied that he did not wish to hurt him and implored the Complainant to put the child down. The Complainant told the officer that he was “poison” and kept asking to be shot. At one point, the Complainant took hold of the child’s head and slammed it multiple times against the hallway wall. He then placed the child down before picking him back up again and fleeing rearward toward the kitchen area. Returning within seconds, the Complainant now had a knife in his right hand. He made several stabbing motions toward the child which never connected, as if trying to provoke SO #1 into shoot him. The officer continued to yell at the Complainant to put the child down as the Complainant moved to his right and into a bedroom.

Joined now by SO #2, SO #1 followed the Complainant to the bedroom. Both officers had their guns drawn and pointed at the Complainant. The Complainant walked to the foot of the bed where his 4-year-old son was kneeling, bent downwards, and stabbed him. As he straightened himself up, still holding his other child and with a knife in hand, SO #2 fired his gun twice at the Complainant from the area in and around the open bedroom doorway. The Complainant fell backwards onto his back and SO #2 moved in to take hold of the 4-year-old, whom he carried outside to waiting paramedics.

Seconds after SO #2’s gunfire, SO #1 fired two additional shots into the chest of the Complainant. The Complainant, while on his back and the knife still in his right hand, had made a movement toward the 2-year-old child, lying next to him on the floor, prompting the officer to fire his weapon. Following those shots, SO #1 picked up the child and brought him outside to paramedics.

With the assistance of the WO, SO #1 returned inside the house to ensure there were no other occupants present. Once the home was cleared, paramedics were allowed inside to assess the Complainant. He was declared dead at the scene at 2:57 p.m.

CW #4 and the two young children were fortunate to have survived their injuries. CW #1 was declared deceased at the scene.


Cause of Death

The pathologist at autopsy was preliminarily of the view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to “gunshot wounds”. The Complainant had sustained three entrance gunshot wounds: one to the forehead above the left eye, another to the right upper chest, and a third to the left lower chest.

Relevant Legislation

Section 34, Criminal Code -- Defence of person - Use of threat of force

34 (1) A person is not guilty of an offence if
(a) They believe on reasonable grounds that force is being used against them or another person or that a threat of force is being made against them or another person; 
(b) The act that constitutes the offence is committed for the purpose of defending or protecting themselves or the other person from that use or threat of force; and
(c) The act committed is reasonable in the circumstances.
(2) In determining whether the act committed is reasonable in the circumstances, the court shall consider the relevant circumstances of the person, the other parties and the act, including, but not limited to, the following factors:
(a) the nature of the force or threat;
(b) the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force;
(c) the person’s role in the incident;
(d) whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon; 
(e) the size, age, gender and physical capabilities of the parties to the incident;
(f) the nature, duration and history of any relationship between the parties to the incident, including any prior use or threat of force and the nature of that force or threat;
(f.1) any history of interaction or communication between the parties to the incident;
(g) the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force; and 
(h) whether the act committed was in response to a use or threat of force that the person knew was lawful.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On February 6, 2021, the Complainant passed away from wounds inflicted by gunfire delivered by two YRP officers. The officers who discharged their firearms – SO #1 and SO #2 – were identified as subject officials for purposes of the SIU investigation. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s death.

Pursuant to section 34 of the Criminal Code, the use of force in the defence of oneself or another from a reasonably apprehended attack, actual or threatened, is legally justified provided the force in question was itself reasonable. In assessing the reasonableness of the force, regard must be had to the relevant circumstances, including such considerations as the nature of the force or threat; the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force; whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon; and, the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force. In my view, the force used by the subject officials fell within the limits prescribed by section 34.

SO #1 and SO #2 were clearly in the discharge of their duties as they responded to Ridge Gate Crescent, entered the home and confronted the Complainant. By that time, the Complainant had inflicted lethal wounds on his wife, assaulted his mother, and stabbed his sister and youngest son. Much of this was known to the officers via information they had received at dispatch. They also knew that the Complainant was still inside the house with his two youngest children. There were ample grounds to seek the Complainant’s arrest for any number of serious criminal offences and to apprehend him as quickly as possible to prevent further harm being done to his children.

The officers exercised significant restraint before resorting, reasonably, in my view, to lethal force. SO #1, though aware of the devastation the Complainant had just wrought upon his wife and sister, attempted to talk him down even as the Complainant threatened and then assaulted his 2-year-old son by smashing his head against a hallway wall. The Complainant, in an apparent attempt to have the officer shoot him dead, armed himself with a knife, and still SO #1 held his fire. It was only after the Complainant retreated into a bedroom and was seen to stab his four-year-old son that SO #2 fired his gun twice in his direction. The first round appears to have missed its target, but the second seems to have been the shot that struck the Complainant above the left eye and felled him. Given every reason to believe that the Complainant might take another stab at his children at any moment, causing grievous bodily harm or death, SO #2 resorted to the only force capable of being immediately incapacitating, namely, his firearm. In so doing, it is not a stretch to say that the officer’s actions might well have saved the lives of one or both of the kids.

I am similarly satisfied that SO #1’s two shots fell within the realm of justifiable force in defence of a third party. Though delivered seconds after the Complainant had been floored by a gunshot to the head, the evidence indicates that he was still in possession of a knife and moving toward his two-year-old son who had fallen beside him, when the officer discharged his weapon. Both rounds struck the Complainant’s chest and immediately immobilized him. The officer said he fired his weapon fearing that the Complainant was about to stab the child. I accept this evidence given everything SO #1 had seen and heard to that point. I further accept that the force used by SO #1 fell within the range of reasonably necessary force in the circumstances. In the context of an officer acutely aware of the Complainant’s propensity for deadly violence, which officer had to that point exercised a great deal of restraint in the face of an armed and dangerous individual, I am unable to reasonably conclude that SO #1 acted precipitously and without legal justification by discharging his firearm when he saw the Complainant make a movement with the knife toward the child.

The scale of the tragedy that unfolded at Ridge Gate Crescent on the day in question was immense. A family suffered horrific losses and the public was left to come to grips with the magnitude of what had occurred. However, these reasons have focused, as they must, on the conduct of the subject officials. As I am satisfied that SO #1 and SO #2 comported themselves lawfully throughout their encounter with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case against either officer. The file is closed.


Date: June 4, 2021


Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Director
Special Investigations Unit

Endnotes

  • 1) The following records contain sensitive personal information and are not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the records are summarized below. [Back to text]

Note:

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.