SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-PFD-225


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Unit’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.

Information Restrictions

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)

Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (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 whose release 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 of FIPPA (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this document. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Subject Officer name(s);
  • Witness Officer name(s);
  • Civilian Witness name(s);
  • 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 (“PHIPA”)

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

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information may have also 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

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents where there is a serious injury (including sexual assault allegations) or death in cases involving the police.

“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.

This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the death of a 29-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On September 9, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s death. According to the OPP, on September 9, 2020, at 12:30 p.m., OPP police officers responded to an address on Third Street, Collingwood, for a report of a barricaded man. As they were setting up a perimeter, the man [now known to be the Complainant] walked out of the residence with a shotgun. The Subject Officer (SO) confronted the Complainant and deployed a conducted energy weapon (CEW) with no success. When the Complainant levelled the shotgun, the SO fired his firearm. The Complainant was taken to Collingwood Marine Hospital and pronounced deceased.

The Team

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned : 4

Interviews of witness officers were protracted due to the coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic and ensuing employment protocols during this investigation.

SIU investigators interviewed civilian and police witnesses, canvassed for additional witnesses, and searched for closed-circuit television (CCTV) data in the area where the incident occurred.

SIU investigators utilized social media to canvass for and garner the cooperation of a civilian who had made a local broadcast media outlet aware of his presence in the area of the incident when it transpired; however, the prospective civilian witness ultimately chose not to cooperate with the SIU.

SIU forensic investigators made digital photographs and a drawing of the scene, collected exhibits and utilized the services of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) police service dog (PSD) to assist with the search for firearm projectiles that were not overt and already located by SIU forensic investigators in the area of the scene.

SIU investigators obtained CCTV data of unknown quality and quantity from an address on Third Street in the immediate area of the incident; however, at the time of this report, SIU investigators had been unable to distil from the data any images having prospective probative value. Despite efforts made by SIU investigators to retrieve CCTV recordings of the interaction between the SO and the Complainant, which may very-well have been captured, it appeared that those specific recordings were either no longer on the memory card, not able to be viewed, or never recorded at all.


29-year-old male, deceased

Civilian Witnesses

CW #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
CW #11 Interviewed
CW #12 Interviewed
CW #13 Interviewed
CW #14 Interviewed
CW #15 Interviewed
CW #16 Interviewed
CW #17 Interviewed
CW #18 Interviewed
CW #19 Interviewed
CW #20 Interviewed
CW #21 Interviewed

Witness Officers

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #8 Interviewed
WO #9 Interviewed
WO #10 Interviewed
WO #11 Interviewed

Subject Officers

SO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed


The Scene

The scene was on the sidewalk in the area of Third and Beech Streets in Collingwood. Numerous members of the OPP were at the scene restricting vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The area was comprised primarily of single-family residences.

Located in the intersection facing south was a marked, OPP Tahoe police cruiser [believed to be operated by the SO]. On the sidewalk of the northwest corner were a single-shot Cooey Model 84 shotgun, one viable shotgun shotshell, one CEW wire with a probe attached to it, and 11 empty .223 calibre cartridges. There were also bloodstains on the sidewalk. Inside the OPP Tahoe police cruiser on the passenger’s seat was one CEW assigned to the SO.

        Figure 1 - The Cooey Model 84 shotgun.

Figure 1 - The Cooey Model 84 shotgun.

Laser equipment was set up in the area of civilian witnesses’ observation points to assist with trajectory and possible evidence location. Metal detectors and rakes were also utilized to search for evidence of firearm projectiles and/or their components.

A search of the scene for projectile strikes was conducted. One strike was located on the roadway at a curb and a projectile was recovered nearby. Another strike was located on a fence at the outer edge of a residential property on the southwest corner of the same intersection with a projectile fragment being recovered near the fence.

PSD assistance from the RCMP’s Pearson International Airport Detachment was requested by the SIU. One RCMP officer - a PSD handler - and one PSD attended but were unable to locate any further projectiles.

Forensic Evidence

Exhibits relating to the Complainant were submitted to the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS):
• Cooey Model 84 shotgun and shotgun shotshell;
• The Complainant’s clothing; and
• Handler deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – the Complainant.

The Cooey Model 84 shotgun and shotshell were submitted to the CFS to determine if any chambering and ejection marks on the shotshell matched with the shotgun’s chamber and extractor components, and for handler DNA in respect of the shotgun and shotgun cartridge. The Complainant’s clothing was submitted for distance determination in relation to the discharge of projectiles from the SO’s C8 rifle.

Exhibits were also submitted to the CFS regarding the SO:
• The SO’s C8 rifle for functionality and comparison to bullets and bullet fragments from the curb and fence;
• C8 rifle cartridges recovered at the scene for firearm discharge residue; and
• Three swabs from possible bullet strikes.

       Figure 2 - The SO's C8 rifle.

Figure 2 - The SO's C8 rifle.

Regarding the submissions related to the Complainant, the CFS reported that the shotgun functioned correctly as a break-open single shot shotgun; that there were no identifiable cycling marks on the unfired shotshell and, therefore, it could neither be identified nor eliminated as having been cycled through the shotgun; and, that no firearms discharge residues were observed surrounding the defects on the back, left buttock area and right thigh area of the Complainant’s jeans to establish a distance determination.

The CFS further reported that the Complainant was the source of the male DNA found on the .223 projectile located next to the curb on the south side of Third Street. Also, the CFS reported that the Complainant could not be excluded as a contributor to the DNA from the swabs of the grip and the loading and cocking mechanism of the shotgun located beside the Complainant’s body at the northwest corner of the intersection of Third and Beech Streets.

Regarding the submissions related to the SO, the CFS reported that the C8 .223 calibre semi-automatic rifle with a detachable cartridge magazine with cartridges, was in firing condition and was test fired using the detachable cartridge magazine. It functioned correctly as a semi-automatic rifle. The test fired bullets generated by the C8 .223 calibre semi-automatic rifle were microscopically examined and compared with the bullet recovered from the curb, and there was an agreement of class and individual characteristics between the test fired bullets and the bullet recovered from the curb. The bullet was identified, within the limits of practical certainty, as having been fired by the C8, .223 calibre semi-automatic rifle.

Communications Recordings

911 Call from CW #10 starting at 12:30:18 p.m.

Call to OPP Provincial Communications Centre (PCC) from CW #10 regarding the Complainant.
• Police had dealt with the Complainant the day before regarding a domestic situation.
• After police had left, the Complainant harmed himself with broken glass and put a cord around his neck.
• Today, the Complainant was locked in his room with a “torn apart” shotgun that did not work and had no bullets.
• The Complainant had been drinking and wanted to end his life though he had not harmed himself today.
CW #10 would meet the police officers outside the door at the front.

911 call from an address on Beech Street starting at 1:12:50 p.m.

• A caller from Beech Street reported hearing gunshots.
• The police were at the house next door at the corner of Beech and Third Streets. The caller was lying on the floor and needed to know if it was safe.
• Caller had heard, “Four, three or four,” gunshots, four minutes earlier.
• A police officer with a machine gun had told the caller there was a problem and to stay inside, after which she heard gunshots.
• The caller was instructed to wait for police to contact her.

PCC Call to Ambulance Communications starting at 12:34:33 p.m.

Ambulance requested to stage at Third and Maple Streets.
• Call details provided by Police Communications to Ambulance Communications.

PCC Call Back to CW #10

The communicator called CW #10 back and requested she and all persons other than the Complainant exit the residence.
• The communicator said two police officers were on scene and more were on the way.

Calls to and from OPP Dispatcher starting at 12:35:34 p.m.

• Various telephone calls were made by and to the dispatcher, not individually time stamped, primarily consisting of after-the-fact conversations.
• Callers included three police sergeants with respect to engaging SIU protocol, and police officers logging on and off for scene security.
• The communications ended at 10:25:41 a.m., September 10, 2020.

Radio Transmissions starting at 12:31:37 p.m.

• Police units were dispatched to call at an address on Third Street for suicidal person.
• The Complainant had found an “old shot gun, does not work”.
• Background provided to responding police officers [consistent with information provided by CW #10 in her 911 call].
• The ambulance was reportedly staging in the area.
WO #1 was attending.
• Police officer provided update regarding possible barricaded person with weapon and access to ammunition.
• Additional police officers dispatched, and updates provided.
• Containment set up by WO #1.
• Reference to WO #10.
• Additional information broadcast that the shotgun was functional.
• The SO said to WO #6 that he was speaking to WO #1 and would be moving his police vehicle to Third and Beech Streets to close it off and get his gear on.
• Critical Incident Commander (CIC) requested.
• Voice heard to say that there was a visual of the Complainant with a firearm, and to take cover.
• Voice heard saying, “Observed west side, northwest side of the fence line.”
• Voice heard saying, “Right now”.
• Voice heard saying, “Shots fired, send ambulance now, shots fired, taser was deployed, and shots”.
• Transmissions regarding containment of residence and possibly other persons inside.
WO #2 transporting the SO.
• Transmissions regarding clearing residence.
• Family members on scene and being transported.
• Various transmissions regarding logistics.
SIU on scene.

PCC Telephone Conversation starting at 1:00:52 p.m.

• Male officer from the PCC, called CIC.
• The male officer said shots had been fired.
• Information relayed to CIC originally not accurate but gradually seemed to gather enough information for more accurate account.
• A female voice called WO #1.
• The male officer called a male and the male had already been told by WO #6 that the SO had been involved in a shooting.
• The male officer called another male and said SIU had been notified.
• Other notifications were made by two officers in PCC.
• There was confusion regarding officer involved shooting and residence being contained.
• Lots of discussion regarding whether the residence would be cleared by Emergency Response Units (ERT) or Tactical Rescue Unit.
• Multiple other notifications.

Materials obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the OPP:
• Communications audio recordings;
• Biography of officer;
• Event Details (x4);
• General Report (x3);
• Google Map images marked by witness officers;
• Notes of SO and WO #1 – WO #10;
OPP Continuity Record;
OPP Interview Synopsis - CW #1;
OPP photographs relevant to the incident;
OPP property list;
• Sudden Death Report-the Complainant;
• Training Record-Transcript-the SO; and
• Witness statement.

Materials obtained from Other Sources

Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from non-police sources:
• Ambulance Call Report;
CCTV data from Third Street;
• Cellular telephone images;
• Copy of handwritten note;
• Drawings by civilian witnesses;
• Email from witness;
EMS Incident Reports;
• Google image marked by witness;
• Medical records of the Complainant;
• Photographs made by witness;
• Photograph of notes by witness;
• Photographs of drawings and video made by witness;
• Screenshots of text messages between a witness and the Complainant; and
• Report of Post-mortem Examination, dated December 11, 2020 and received by the SIU on August 16, 2021, from the Coroner’s Office.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question are clear on the evidence gathered by the SIU, which included interviews with multiple civilian witnesses, the SO, and other officers who participated in the police operation that ended in the Complainant’s death, as well as information derived from forensic examination of the scene and items of evidence.

Shortly after 1:00 p.m. of September 9, 2020, the Complainant was shot and felled by the SO while standing on the northwest corner of the Third and Beech Streets intersection. In all, the SO discharged 11 rounds from his C8 rifle. The Complainant was holding a shotgun aimed in the SO’s direction at the time of the shooting.

The shooting was the culmination of a train of events set in motion the evening before. The Complainant, who resided at an address on Third Street, had quarreled with CW #10. The situation got out of hand and CW #10 called the police. Officers attended and prevailed on the Complainant to find accommodation elsewhere for the night. He did and left for his mother’s home.

The following day, at about 12:30 p.m., CW #10 called the police again to report that a suicidal Complainant, who had returned from his mother’s home, had locked himself in his room with an unloaded shotgun that was inoperable. The investigation revealed some evidence the Complainant wanted “death by cop”.

At about 12:30 p.m., police officers were dispatched to the area. Among them, WO #5 and WO #8 attended at the home and evacuated CW #1, CW #10 and another resident, CW #17. As she was making her way out, CW #10 told the officers that the shotgun in the Complainant’s possession was, in fact, loaded. WO #5 advised the communications centre of this development, as well as a sergeant making his way to the scene, WO #1. The information was broadcast to all officers.

The SO, an ERT officer, arrived at the scene, was briefed by WO #1 and parked his police SUV in the middle of the Third and Beech Streets intersection. The officer took cover behind the passenger side of WO #5’s cruiser, which she had parked on the east side of Beech Street just north of Third Street. As he started changing into his hard body armour, the SO heard over his radio that the Complainant had briefly emerged from the home with a gun in hand. The officer took hold of his C8 rifle and, taking a position behind the engine compartment of WO #5’s cruiser, knelt to stay hidden.

Within seconds of the initial reports of the Complainant exiting his home, he emerged again, this time through an opening in the hedges that bordered the east side of the property. His right hand by the trigger, the Complainant was holding a shotgun parallel to the ground. The SO was directly across the street from the Complainant. The officer trained his C8 at the Complainant and repeatedly yelled at him not to move and to drop the gun. The Complainant was unmoved. He raised his left hand in the officer’s direction, made an obscene gesture and said, “Fuck you,” after which he turned to his right and started to walk south.

The SO stopped yelling commands and came out around the front end of WO #5’s cruiser onto Beech Street. His C8 rifle held in his right hand, the butt pressed against his right shoulder and still aimed at the Complainant, the SO drew his CEW with his left hand. The officer neared to within 4 to 7 metres of the Complainant, stopped and discharged the weapon. The CEW probes missed the Complainant, but caught his attention.

The Complainant, by now on a patch of grass between a fire hydrant and a stop sign at the northwest corner of the intersection, turned to face the SO behind him. He was still holding the shotgun in the same position, the barrel pointed toward the SO as he stopped his turn. The SO tossed his CEW aside and grabbed his C8 with both hands. Still on the roadway several metres north of the Complainant, the officer yelled at the Complainant to put the gun down. The Complainant told the officer, “Fuck you,” after which he was on the receiving end of a barrage of gunfire from the SO.

The SO fired 11 shots, eight of which struck the Complainant.

WO #1 and WO #11 rushed toward the Complainant and began to administer first aid. Paramedics, staged at the scene on Third Street, east of the intersection, arrived and took over the Complainant’s care. He was transported to hospital and subsequently pronounced deceased at 1:26 p.m.

The Complainant had been holding a Cooey Model 84 shotgun. It, together with a shotgun shotshell, were recovered by the SIU at the scene. The results of testing by the CFS concluded that the shotgun functioned correctly as a break-open single shot shotgun. The weapon was not loaded at the time it was obtained by the SIU.

Cause of Death

The pathologist at autopsy attributed the Complainant’s death to multiple gunshot wounds.

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 September 9, 2020, the Complainant passed away as the result of multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by an OPP police officer in the course of a standoff in Collingwood. The officer – the SO – was identified as a subject officer for purposes of the SIU investigation. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s death.

Pursuant to section 34 of the Criminal Code, the use of force that would otherwise constitute an offence is legally justified provided it was intended in the defence of oneself or another from a reasonably apprehended attacked, actual or threatened, and was itself reasonable. With respect to the reasonableness of the force, it is to be assessed against all the relevant circumstances, including with respect to 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 SO fell within the four corners of the justification set out in section 34.

I accept that the SO discharged his C8 rifle believing it was necessary to protect himself and others around him, including other officers and civilians in the area, from a lethal risk presented by the Complainant. That is what the officer told the SIU, and that is what is borne out by the circumstances. Though the shotgun in the possession of the Complainant was unloaded, the officer would not have known that. In fact, just the opposite; he had learned over the radio moments before the shooting that the shotgun was loaded. Confronted by a seemingly operable firearm pointed in his direction, I am satisfied that the SO acted to thwart a threat of imminent death to himself and others.

I am further satisfied that the SO’s use of force was reasonable. For starters, the officer was lawfully placed at the time he approached the Complainant and subsequently shot him. An officer’s foremost duty is the protection and preservation of life, and the SO was in the lawful execution of his duty as he responded to the scene following reports of a suicidal Complainant armed with a gun. Thereafter, when the Complainant emerged from the home and adopted a defiant posture, weapon in hand, as he strolled south toward the intersection, he constituted a clear and present danger to the well-being of the SO and other officers in the area, as well as civilians in and around their homes. Accordingly, the officer was within his rights in tracking the Complainant southward and challenging his continued movements.

The exigencies of the moment speak to the reasonableness of the SO’s actions. The officer was within two to three metres of the Complainant at the time of the shooting. To reiterate, the Complainant had turned in the SO’s direction pointing what the officer could only assume was a fully loaded and functional shotgun. At that moment, the SO was faced with imminent death with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. In the circumstances, it is difficult to see what else the officer could have done other than to discharge his weapon if he was to preserve himself.

The context around the shooting is also instructive. The Complainant was intent on provoking what he hoped would be a lethal confrontation with police. He had made that clear just before the officers’ arrival when he talked about wanting “death by cop”. Though the SO would not have been privy to that information at the time, the Complainant’s motivation lends credence to the SO’s perceptions at the time, namely, that the Complainant’s conduct left him no choice but to fire his weapon. Moreover, it is important to note that the SO had already shown a significant degree of restraint. Arguably, though the Complainant’s behaviour before the shooting, as he stepped onto the sidewalk and then started walking south toward Third Street, presented an immediate risk of death or grievous bodily harm to the SO and others, the officer chose first to engage him verbally and then with his CEW. It was only when those options failed to neutralize the Complainant that the SO turned to his firearm.

Finally, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO acted excessively with respect to the number of shots he fired – 11 in total. The officer explained that he fired his weapon until the Complainant fell to the ground and was no longer a threat. Given the rapidity with which the SO fired his weapon, and the weight of the witness evidence indicating that the Complainant fell after the final shot was discharged, I accept the officer’s evidence at its word. On this record, with the Complainant on his feet with a shotgun in hand until the final shot, I am satisfied that the SO’s apprehensions regarding the nature of the threat and the necessity of resorting to his C8 rifle, remained reasonable throughout the period of gunfire.

In the result, as I am satisfied for the foregoing reasons that there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that the SO comported himself other than lawfully throughout his encounter with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: August 23, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


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.