SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TFD-373
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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.
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.
- 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.
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 70-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn November 3, 2021, at 2:25 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of the death of the Complainant.
The OPP advised that, at 12:04 p.m., Toronto Police Service (TPS) officers were executing a search warrant at an address on Port Ryerse Road, Simcoe. At 12:18 p.m., TPS notified the OPP Provincial Communications Centre that shots had been fired and one man [now determined to be the Complainant] was deceased.
The Complainant was taken by ambulance to Norfolk General Hospital (NGH) where he was pronounced deceased.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 11/03/2021 at 3:20 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 11/03/2021 at 4:50 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):70-year-old male, deceased
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between November 3 and 4, 2021.
Subject OfficialSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between November 5 and 23, 2021.
The Scene On November 3, 2021, at 4:50 p.m., SIU Forensic Investigators attended the scene, which was located on a residential property on Port Ryerse Road, Simcoe.
The scene was an outbuilding described as a garage that had been converted into a machine or gunsmithing shop. Entry into this building was through a pedestrian door - there was no sign this door had been forced open.
Immediately inside the building there was a workbench cluttered with hand tools and other miscellaneous items. Throughout the building were large machines and a variety of safes, cabinets, and chairs. The floor of the building was littered with cartridge cases of different calibres.
On the floor, in front of the workbench, was a .45 calibre semi-automatic pistol with no magazine. Close to this item was a large area of pooled liquid suspected to be blood, a pair of prescription glasses stained with suspected blood, and a TPS First Aid Kit. Also scattered within this area was medical waste, suggesting EMS attendance.
In an area of the floor amongst the machinery were two nickel plated cartridge cases, unlike all the other cartridge cases strewn about. A quick examination of the head stamp revealed them to be .40 calibre Smith and Wesson, similar to cartridges examined from the SO’s pistol. Another similar cartridge case was located on the workbench near the entrance. One more similar cartridge case was located among the tools in the centre of the room.
At 8:16 p.m., SIU Forensic Investigators photographed the scene showing overall views. At 8:45 p.m., SIU Forensic Investigators collected the physical evidence from the scene. At 9:35 p.m., SIU Forensic Investigators released the scene to TPS.
The SO’s Police Equipment On November 3, 2021, at 6:15 p.m., an SIU Forensic Investigator met with TPS to receive and examine police equipment involved in this incident, including a ballistic vest with one pair of handcuffs and two spare Glock magazines containing 14 cartridges each. These items were examined, photographed, and then returned to TPS. Also examined was a knapsack containing three spare Glock model 27 magazines containing eight rounds each. These items were photographed, and then returned to TPS.
The SO’s firearm was a Glock Model 22, .40 calibre semi-automatic pistol. The SIU Forensic Investigator removed one cartridge from the breech. One magazine was removed from the pistol grip. This magazine contained nine cartridges. At 6:37 p.m., the SIU Forensic Investigator took possession of the firearm with magazine and cartridges.
Figure 1 – The SO’s firearm
Evidence from the Workshop The evidence obtained by SIU Forensic Investigators from the workshop consisted of:
- – pistol from floor;
- – cartridge case from workbench;
- – cartridge case from floor, northeast corner of room;
- – cartridge case from floor, northeast corner of room;
- – medical waste;
- – bullet jacket fragment from floor, front of workbench;
- – swab of staining on floor suspected to be blood; and
- – cartridge case from centre of room amongst tools.
Figure 2 – Pistol located on the floor of the workshop
Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) Submissions and Results On November 21, 2021, an SIU Forensic Investigator submitted four Winchester .40 calibre SW cartridge cases, one Glock Model 22 .40 calibre semi-automatic pistol and a pistol magazine to the Firearm and Toolmark Section of CFS for examination.
At the writing of this report, the SIU had yet to receive the results of that examination.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Video Footage from a Residence The footage was captured on November 3, 2021, and, in summary, depicted the following.
At 1:00:32  p.m., a pickup truck could be seen moving in the driveway of the Complainant’s neighbour [known to be operated by CW #1].
At 1:00:42 p.m., a woman [known to be CW #3] walked from the Complainant’s driveway across the front of the residence towards the front door.
At 1:00:57 p.m., a man carrying a long gun – WO #1 – wearing jeans and black upper clothing moved north across the front of the residence toward CW #3. WO #1 stopped next to CW #3 as three other TPS police officers – Officer #1, WO #2 and WO #5 – walked past CW #3. A fourth police officer – WO #3 – dealt with CW #3.
At 1:01:07 p.m., a TPS police officer – WO #2 – walked around the corner of the residence followed by a second police officer.
At 1:01:24 p.m., two more TPS police officers walked along the Complainant’s driveway.
At 1:01:32 p.m., a TPS police officer was in the Complainant’s driveway.
Between 1:01:43 p.m. and 1:09:23 p.m., the motion-activated camera did not record.
At 1:03:49 p.m., a different camera captured three vehicles stopped on the road near CW #1’s driveway. One police officer ran from the vehicles in the direction of the Complainant’s driveway. Another officer ran from the front of the Complainant’s residence towards the cruisers.
At 1:04:18 p.m., a van driven by an officer was moved to the driveway of the Complainant’s residence. Two men stood at the end of the driveway (believed to be officers).
At 1:09:24 p.m., a man sat in a chair next to the front door of the residence [known to be CW #2].
At 1:13:11 p.m., a Norfolk County Paramedic Services ambulance pulled up in front of the driveway of the Complainant’s residence.
At 1:16:11 p.m., a second ambulance arrived.
At 1:24:39 p.m., a marked OPP SUV cruiser stopped on the street in front of the Complainant’s residence.
At 1:27:03 p.m., the first ambulance to arrive made a U-turn and drove away.
Ambulance Dispatch Recordings These recordings were made on November 3, 2021, and captured the following.
At 12:17:02 p.m., a 911 call was received from a TPS police officer - WO #5 - advising that they had been executing a search warrant, shots had been fired, and they required an ambulance. WO #5 provided the address and information that the Complainant had been struck by the several gunshots. WO #5 could not say where the Complainant was shot as he had not been in the area of the interaction. WO #5 was unsure if cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) had begun but WO #5 advised the scene was unsecure at this time. Paramedics were responding to the scene.
At 12:18:40 p.m., an ambulance dispatcher contacted the OPP dispatch and inquired if they were aware of shots being fired at a call involving TPS. The OPP dispatcher made no comment on prior knowledge of a police call to the address; however, it was clear from the OPP dispatcher’s check of the address that the dispatcher had some knowledge of TPS presence.
At 12:19 p.m., the first paramedic unit was en route to the scene and asked for confirmation that OPP were on scene prior to their arrival. They were advised the caller had identified himself as a TPS police officer conducting a search of the property.
At 12:23:41 p.m., a second ambulance was dispatched to the address as a precaution in case it was needed.
At 12:26:10 p.m., a second call was received from WO #5 asking for an estimated time of arrival for the ambulance. WO #5 indicated that TPS police officers were doing CPR on the Complainant.
At 12:26:19 p.m., the first ambulance arrived on scene.
At 12:41:05 p.m., the ambulance left the scene with the Complainant heading for NGH, and arriving at 12:48:08 p.m.
OPP Communications Recordings The recordings were made on November 3, 2021, and captured the following.
At 12:18:16 p.m., a telephone call from the Hamilton Central Ambulance Communications Centre (HCACC) was made to the OPP. HCACC advised the OPP of a 70-year-old man - the Complainant - having been shot at a residence on Port Ryerse Road.
At 12:19:17 p.m., the OPP dispatcher requested police units for a weapons call at the Complainant’s address. HCACC had advised that a 70-year-old man had been shot, and TPS police officers were on scene. Several OPP police units were headed to the address. Two OPP police units arrived on scene and reported an ambulance was on scene. One OPP police officer assisted with CPR while the other escorted the ambulance to hospital.
At 12:21:08 p.m., a series of phone calls were made between an OPP operator and multiple other unknown people. The audio recording was four minutes and 37 seconds in duration.
There was a conversation between the OPP operator and TPS officer, WO #4. WO #4 answered his phone. The OPP operator asked whether this was the OPP or WO #4. WO #4 confirmed his identity. The OPP operator asked if WO #4 was on scene at the residence. WO #4 said he was. The OPP operator advised OPP police units would be updated. After this recording, there were no more recordings of evidentiary value.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from OPP and TPS between November 4, 2021, and March 2, 2022:
- TPS Event Details Report;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #2;
- Notes-WO #5;
- Notes-WO #4;
- Notes-WO #6;
- Notes-WO #7;
- OPP Crime Scene Registry Log;
- OPP Occurrence Report;
- OPP Communications Recordings;
- OPP Event Details (x2);
- OPP Occurrence - Police Information;
- TPS Routine Order - Executing a Search Warrant;
- TPS Routine Order - Use of Force;
- TPS Routine Order - Service Firearms; and
- TPS Search Warrant.
Materials Obtained from Other Sources The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Security video footage from a nearby residence;
- Dashcam Footage from CW #2;
- HCACC Communications Recordings; and
- Preliminary Autopsy Findings from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.
The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, which included interviews with police officers who were in and around the scene of the shooting, including WO #4, present throughout the events in question. The investigation also benefitted from the eyewitness evidence of a civilian, who was also in the immediate vicinity of the shooting. Importantly, the civilian eyewitness evidence was materially consistent with the police eyewitness accounts. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes. CW #3, the Complainant’s wife, also refused to participate in the SIU’s investigation.
Shortly after 12:00 p.m. of November 3, 2021, officers with the TPS Firearms Enforcement Unit (FEU) arrived at a property on Port Ryerse Road, Simcoe – the residence of the Complainant and his wife, CW #3. They had driven to the residence to execute a warrant obtained under the Criminal Code authorizing the search of the Complainant’s residence and outbuildings on the property in aid of a firearms-trafficking investigation. Firearms had been recovered in two separate police investigations, including a kidnapping, that were registered to a firearms business owned by the Complainant.  In neither case had the Complainant, a gunsmith, reported the firearms stolen or missing, and thus it was suspected that he or an associate had illegally traded in firearms.
WO #3 of the FEU met with his team, consisting of Officer #1, the SO, WO #4, WO #1, WO #2 and WO #5, at a destination in Hagersville. They talked about the case, examined the search warrant that had been obtained, and viewed a photograph of the Complainant. Given the Complainant’s age and the absence of an indications of violence in his past, it was decided that the team would execute a ‘soft entry’ into the residence; that is, officers would knock, announce their presence, and ask to speak with the Complainant before entering the home. According to WO #4, the team leader, had there been any articulable risks associated with the Complainant, consideration would have been given to a dynamic entry and the use of Emergency Task Force officers.
WO #4 further explained that he did not think it necessary to have OPP officers present during the execution of the search warrant. It was not unusual for officers from the FEU to travel outside their jurisdiction to execute warrants and WO #4 was confident that his team were fully qualified and equipped in this case to proceed on their own. He did contact the OPP in advance to ensure they were aware of the TPS presence and what they were doing.
The officers arrived in three unmarked police vehicles, parking them just south of the Complainant’s residence, exited, and made their way to the home. The Complainant and his wife had just returned home from a shopping trip; the Complainant was in his workshop north of the home, and his wife was unloading groceries from their vehicle. Several officers spoke with the Complainant’s wife as she made her way to the entrance of her home. They asked her where her husband was, and she answered he was in the workshop.
In the workshop with the Complainant at the time was a client - CW #2. CW #2 had recently purchased a Norinco 1911-A1 compact .45 calibre pistol, and had brought it in to the Complainant for a repair. His intention had been to drop it off and return for it later, but the Complainant convinced him to wait as the repair would only take about 15 minutes. CW #2 provided the Complainant the gun in a gun case, and observed as the Complainant performed the repair. The Complainant was putting the pistol together again – the magazine had not been reinserted in the firearm but it looked like a complete gun – when he heard sound from behind him.
The sound was coming from the approach of FEU officers – the SO, followed closely by WO #4. The officers called out, “Police, search warrant,” and, “Put your hands up,” as they neared and entered the workshop’s pedestrian door. CW #2 surmised that it was the police and raised his hands.
With their guns drawn, the SO and WO #4 quickly turned their attention to the Complainant, seated by a workbench to the left of the pedestrian door. The Complainant did not raise his hands at the officers’ repeated direction. Within seconds of their entry, he reached with his right hand towards the workbench, retrieved CW #2’s firearm, and turned with it in the officers’ direction as they yelled at him to “drop the gun”. The SO fired his gun – a Glock .40 calibre semi-automatic – four times in rapid succession, striking the Complainant and knocking him off his chair onto his back. The time was about 12:15 p.m.
Following the shooting, the officers escorted CW #2 out of the workshop, placed him on the ground and handcuffed him to the back. He was later released. WO #3 and WO #1 entered the garage and rendered care to the Complainant, including the administration of CPR.
Paramedics attended the address and took over the Complainant’s care. He was transported to hospital and declared deceased at 1:17 p.m.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to “multiple gunshot wounds”. The Complainant had suffered wounds to the head, torso and hands.
Section 34, Criminal Code -- Defence of person - Use or threat of force
(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.
(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 November 3, 2021, the Complainant died as the result of gunshot wounds inflicted by a TPS officer. The officer in question – the SO – was identified as a subject official for purposes of the ensuing SIU investigation. The investigation is now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the shooting and death of the Complainant.
Pursuant to section 34 of the Criminal Code, force used in the defence of oneself or another from a reasonably apprehended attack, actual or threatened, is legally justified if the force was itself reasonable. The reasonableness of the force is to be assessed against all 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 SO was within his rights under section 34 in discharging his firearm.
The SO was lawfully placed throughout the series of events culminating in the shooting. The team of FEU officers had travelled to the Complainant’s residence to search the property on the strength of a facially valid warrant obtained under the Criminal Code authorizing the search by TPS officers.  In obtaining the warrant, the police would have satisfied a justice that there were reasonable grounds to believe that evidence of a criminal offence would be found on the property, in this case, evidence of illegally trafficked firearms.
I am further satisfied that the FEU officers, including the SO, comported themselves reasonably in the execution of the warrant. In order to ensure there was no confusion as to what they were doing outside their home jurisdiction, they had contacted the OPP to notify them of their intentions. The team had decided on a ‘soft entry’, as opposed to a ‘hard entry’ or ‘dynamic entry’, wherein officers would knock on the door and ask to speak to the Complainant before conducting their search, properly taking into account the Complainant’s age and the absence of any documented violence in his past. That is precisely what they did, first, in respect of the Complainant’s wife by the front of the home, and then in relation to the Complainant, in respect of whom the evidence indicates that the SO and WO #4 approached the workshop announcing their status as ‘police’ with a search warrant. It is true that the SO and WO #4 entered the workshop with their guns drawn and immediately asked that the Complainant and CW #2 raise their hands, but these would appear to have been reasonable precautions in the circumstances. They were, after all, investigating a serious criminal offence and had reason to believe that there would likely be firearms in the workshop – the Complainant was a gunsmith.
While the SIU is without first-hand evidence of the SO’s state of mind at the time the shots were fired – the officer having exercised his right to remain silent – I am persuaded on the basis of the prevailing circumstances that he fired his weapon to protect himself, and, possibly, WO #4, from a reasonably apprehended assault. For whatever reason, the Complainant ignored the officers’ direction that he raise his hands. It would seem unlikely that he was mistaken as to who had entered his workshop. To reiterate, the officers had announced their presence, and they were wearing vests with the word ‘police’ on the front and back. And CW #2, also in the workshop, had quickly and correctly grasped that they were dealing with police officers, and promptly raised his hands. Thereafter, again for reasons that are unknown, the Complainant retrieved a gun that he had been working on – the one CW #2 had brought in for repair – from a nearby workbench, refused to put it down at the officers’ insistence, and pointed it in the direction of the officers. WO #4, standing beside the SO and similarly situated to his colleague, says that he feared for their lives at that moment, and that he was just about to fire his weapon to defend himself when he heard his colleague’s firearm being discharged. On this record, there is little doubt that the SO would have felt the same way.
With respect to the force used by the SO, namely, the discharge of four rounds from his firearm at the Complainant, the evidence does not reasonably establish that it was excessive force. In fact, at a distance of no more than a few metres from the Complainant, it is difficult to imagine what else the SO could have done to protect himself. As it turns out, the firearm in the Complainant’s hand was not in condition to be fired at the time, but the SO would not have known that. The gun looked like it was operable. Certainly, that was the distinct impression of WO #4 and CW #2, the latter of whom was shocked to see the Complainant retrieve and point the firearm as he did. In the circumstances, in the split seconds in which the SO had to make a life-and-death decision, I am unable to fault the officer for choosing to meet a reasonably apprehended threat of imminent and lethal force with a resort to lethal force of his own. Given the speed with which events unfolded inside the workshop, no more than about five to ten seconds on the estimate of the civilian eyewitness from the time the officers entered until the shooting, and less than that from the moment the Complainant took hold of the gun, retreat or withdrawal to a position of cover were not realistic options. Nor, given the rapidity of the shots, is there evidence to reasonably believe that the threat level had materially changed throughout the gunfire.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the force used by the SO was not legally justified, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case against the officer.
Date: March 3, 2022
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) CW #3 did not consent to an interview. [Back to text]
- 2) 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]
- 3) The time was 46 minutes fast. [Back to text]
- 4) The serial numbers used to trace the firearms’ registration to the Complainant had reportedly been defaced, but subsequently and sufficiently recovered to allow for their identification. [Back to text]
- 5) Section 29(1) of the Criminal Code provides that “[i]t is the duty of every one who executes a process or warrant to have it with him, where it is feasible to do so, and to produce it when requested to do so.” The evidence indicates that one or more of the FEU officers had a copy of the warrant with them (either on their persons or readily accessible in their vehicles) – WO #5 says he showed a copy of the warrant to an OPP officer who arrived after the shooting. There is no affirmative indication in the evidence collected by the SIU that the warrant was displayed to either the Complainant or his wife before the events in question. However, as the evidence establishes that neither asked to see a copy of the warrant – entirely understandable given the timeline of events - it would not appear that the FEU officers were in breach of their obligations under section 29(1). [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.