SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-PCD-004
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may also have been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the death of a 45-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn January 9, 2022, the Port Hope Police Service (PHPS) reported the following.
On January 9, 2022, the PHPS received a call about an aggressive driver. When police officers arrived, they came across a motor vehicle collision (MVC) involving two vehicles. The driver of vehicle one had injuries and was unconscious. The driver of vehicle two [now known to have been the Complainant] had fled on foot; a handgun was left on the seat of his vehicle. The Complainant was last seen crossing over Highway (Hwy) 401. The PHPS learned that the Complainant had carjacked a vehicle and police officers from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) initiated a pursuit that ended at Hwy 115 and Hwy 401. The Complainant had a machete, which he used to self-inflict injuries at that point. He was taken to a hospital in Toronto.
Subsequent to the report from the PHPS, the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) reported the following.
The OPP were the lead in the pursuit of vehicle two. DRPS police officers were also involved in the pursuit - one of them had put down a spike belt.
The OPP subsequently confirmed the aforementioned-information.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 01/09/2022 at 2:20 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 01/09/2022 at 2:40 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):45-year-old male, deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed on January 10, 2022, and January 11, 2022.
Witness OfficialsWO #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 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between January 14, 2022, and January 18, 2022.
Figure 2 - Photograph of scene on the westbound on-ramp to Hwy 401 from Hwy 115. The picture depicts CW #1’s Dodge Ram pickup truck on the right-side ditch surrounded by OPP police cruisers. Names, an officer’s image and licence plates have been redacted for privacy reasons.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU searched for and obtained video/audio records of relevance, as set out below:
- Video footage from Tim Hortons at Hwy 28, Port Hope; and
- 911 calls and police radio communications.
Tim Hortons CCTVDrive-Thru Window Camera
At 10:06:55 a.m., the Complainant came from the Hwy 401 westbound off-ramp and walked towards the Tim Hortons drive-thru window. The Complainant ran at a gold-coloured sedan at the drive-thru window and used a large machete to bang on the window several times. The vehicle then drove off and a black Chevrolet truck accelerated quickly towards the Complainant causing him to step back. The truck drove off as well.
At 10:07:33 a.m., the Complainant walked towards the drive-thru speaker and went out of view of the camera. A black Dodge Ram [later identified as being driven by CW #1] was seen driving at a high rate of speed out of the drive-thru, over the curb and through the parking lot.
Drive-thru Speaker Camera
At 10:07:29 a.m., CW #1 arrived at the drive-thru speaker in his Dodge Ram. The Complainant walked across the lawn towards CW #1’s truck. The Complainant was carrying a large machete in his right hand with the blade hidden behind his arm. The Complainant opened the rear driver side door and entered the truck. CW #1 drove through the drive-thru while leaning forward in the driver seat.
At 10:08:04 a.m., a marked PHPS truck with emergency lights activated was seen driving west on the off-ramp and north on County Road 28. A uniformed police officer walked towards the drive-thru carrying a carbine.
911 calls to the OPPFirst call
On January 9, 2022, at 10:03:38 a.m., an off-duty police officer from the DRPS called 911 and reported that the Complainant was on the eastbound lanes of Hwy 401 jumping around near a McDonald’s exit [later identified as Hwy 28 and Hwy 401 in Port Hope]. The Complainant was standing in the middle of the highway and attempting to enter the officer’s jeep.
The Complainant had jumped over the median into the westbound lanes and was attempting to enter another vehicle.
The Complainant was described as being disheveled, wearing black clothing, and having long hair pulled back. The officer had not seen any weapons.
The 911 call was made at 10:03:52 a.m. The location of the reported emergency was on Hwy 401 eastbound and westbound between mile markers 466.4 and 466.5. The caller had seen the Complainant jump out of a grey jeep and over the centre median from eastbound to westbound lanes. The Complainant was bleeding from the head.
The 911 call was made at 10:04:11 a.m. The caller reported an emergency at the Hwy 28 westbound on-ramp. She reported that the Complainant had an object, possibly a machete, and he was pacing back and forth on the highway. The Complainant was described as white and wearing dark clothing.
The call to the OPP was made at 10:04:54 a.m. by the PHPS dispatcher. The location of the emergency was reported to be Hwy 401, exit 474, in Port Hope. The dispatcher reported that there had been a motor vehicle collision in Port Hope, and one of the vehicles’ drivers, the Complainant, had fled the scene and was attempting to hijack vehicles on Hwy 401. The PHPS was receiving numerous 911 calls regarding the Complainant on the highway. He was described as wearing a black jacket and armed with an iron pipe.
The 911 call was made at 10:05:54 a.m. The location of the emergency was reported to be on Hwy 401 eastbound, several kilometres west of Cobourg. The caller stated that the Complainant had jumped in front of his vehicle and attempted to break the window with an iron bar. He was described as having a beard and wearing all black clothing.
This 911 call was made at 10:09:22 a.m. The location of the emergency was reported to be on the eastbound Hwy 401 before the Cobourg sign. The caller reported that the Complainant was jumping into live vehicle traffic with a bat or crowbar attempting to hit vehicles as they were passing - he waited on the side of highway, and then would run out onto the highway. He attempted to open a door to a jeep and a van. He was described as a white male wearing jeans, a flannel shirt, and, possibly, a hat.
OPP Radio CommunicationsWO #1 reported that he was westbound on Hwy 401 at mile marker 495 when a black Dodge just ‘blew’ right past him on the shoulder. It also blew past a couple of other vehicles. The sergeant reported that it was unknown if the vehicle was related to the Port Hope incident, but indicated that it was driving erratically at speeds close to 170 km/h.
The dispatcher asked WO #1 to confirm his location and he reported he was still westbound Hwy 401, then at mile marker 494. He noted that the pickup truck was up ahead of him. He had not activated his emergency lights or sirens yet and wanted to see if he could close the distance.
When asked for his location by WO #5, WO #1 reported that he was at Lyle Street, that the driving was not safe, and that he still did not know if it was the pickup truck from the Port Hope incident. WO #1 reported that the pickup truck had passed him, and that he was in a marked vehicle.
WO #2 reported that he was position on the 401 on-ramp, westbound. WO #5 reported he was behind the pickup towards Port Hope. He reported they were quickly coming onto Port Hope.
WO #1 asked the police officers to try and slow down a little bit to see if they could arrange a ‘tandem’. WO #5 reported they were just coming into Port Hope. Passing the Port Hope sign, he requested that PHPS perhaps get out and shut down all three lanes and they would attempt a rolling stop.
The dispatcher reported that the pickup truck marker came back to a blue Ram, valid tags, registered to CW #1 out of Cobourg.
The Provincial Communications Centre sergeant acknowledged the pursuit and was monitoring. The pursuit of the pickup truck continued at high speeds along Hwy 401 and through the communities of Leslieville and Newcastle. The OPP sought to have the DRPS helicopter assist in the pursuit, but it was not available.
The driving behaviour of the pickup truck was described as aggressive due to speeds, 146 – 170 km/h.
WO #5 reported they had two OPP marked units and one from DRPS engaged with the pickup truck. They were coming into a ‘50’ zone and slowing down, and they were going to try and do a rolling block. It was requested, if possible, that the DRPS set up a spike belt. A spike strip was deployed, and it was reported the truck had sustained a flat and that speeds were slowing down to 125 approaching the ‘115 and 35’. It was reported that the pursuit had entered onto Hwy 115, and that the truck had sustained two flat tires on the driver’s side. It was further reported that a rolling block was being attempted, and that the truck was entering the ditch. The pickup truck was stopped and had struck a police cruiser. The pickup truck was reported in a ditch on Hwy 115 southbound to 401 westbound on-ramp. One male was at gunpoint and bleeding from the neck. Paramedics were requested.
WO #1 reported he was at the scene and requested that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) be expedited for the first patient with the neck wound, and possibly for a second victim.
WO #6 updated that there was a male in the backseat, and they had two victims secured and safe. The male was unconscious and had a wound to his throat. A request to expedite the attendance of EMS was made.
WO #1 reported the male was unresponsive - he had a wound to his throat and the officers were administering first-aid.
The dispatcher advised that Ornge Air Ambulance was landing on the ramp.
WO #6 reported that the male suspect had just been pronounced ‘VSA’ (Vital Signs Absent) by the doctor of Air Ornge.
DRPS Radio CommunicationsThe DRPS radio communications recordings of the pursuit of CW #1’s pickup truck were consistent with the account provided in the OPP radio communications. The DRPS recording indicated that the pickup truck came to a stop at 11:58 a.m. When the pickup truck stopped on the ramp to Hwy 401, DRPS police officers WO #3 and WO #4 assisted the OPP police officers.
WO #3 reported he had one person at gunpoint. He requested EMS as he had a victim who had been stabbed. It was reported that the suspect [now known to have been the Complainant] was in the back seat of the pickup truck and covered in blood.
The radio dispatcher stated that the OPP had informed them that the Complainant had a wound to his throat and was unresponsive. A DRPS officer confirmed the information.
WO #3 reported that the police officers were doing CPR on the Complainant.
PHPS Radio CommunicationsOn January 9, 2022, at 9:59:06 a.m., dispatch contacted Unit #1 to be on the lookout for a silver Nissan with Quebec licence plates driving at a high rate of speed, passing vehicles, and driving through red lights on Toronto Road. The vehicle was last seen on Turner Road headed towards Highway 401. PHPS dispatch informed the OPP.
At 10:01:45 a.m., Unit #2 informed dispatch that they had located the silver Nissan involved in a two-vehicle MVC at Ontario Street and Jocelyn Street. Fire services and an ambulance was requested. Unit #3 said they saw the man [now known to have been the Complainant] involved in the MVC running away from the collision towards Highway 401. The assistance of the OPP was sought because the Complainant had crossed Highway 401. The Complainant was reportedly travelling north of Highway 401 carrying a large pipe in his hands attempting to enter vehicles. Unit #4 indicated that the Complainant had a knife but did not know where he had gone.
At 10:08:20 a.m., the Complainant was at the service centre off Highway 401 and had struck a vehicle with a hammer. He then went over to the Tim Hortons.
PHPS dispatch broadcast that the Complainant was operating a black truck with a female passenger [now known to have been CW #2] north on Hamilton Road. The dispatcher informed units that fire services had located a firearm and a machete on the front seat of the silver Nissan. A witness had seen the Complainant remove a black bag from his vehicle and place it under his arm when he fled. The Quebec licence plate was associated with a grey Nissan Sentra registered to the Complainant.
The remainder of the radio transmissions concerned the pursuit of the carjacked pickup truck and was consistent with the radio communications of both the OPP and DRPS.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the PHPS, the OPP and the DRPS:
- PHPS General Report;
- PHPS 911 Call and Radio Communications;
- DRPS Narrative of WO #3 and WO #4;
- DRPS Notes of WO #3 and WO #4;
- DRPS Radio Communications;
- OPP 911 Call Recordings;
- OPP Radio Communications;
- OPP Notes of WO #1, WO #2, WO #5, WO #6 and WO #7
- OPP General Occurrence Report;
- OPP Radio Communications;
- OPP Provincial Communications Centre Standard Operating Procedures;
- OPP Traffic Enforcement and Road Safety Policy; and
- OPP Suspect Apprehension Pursuits Policy.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- Durham EMS Ambulance Call Report (x2);
- Durham EMS Ambulance Incident Report (x2);
- Ornge Air Ambulance - Dispatch Summary;
- Ornge Air Ambulance – Air Ambulance and Critical Care Transport Call Report; and
- Preliminary Autopsy Report from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.
The Complainant embarked on a violent rampage in the morning of January 9, 2022. He was involved in a motor vehicle collision in Port Hope at about 10:00 a.m., following which he left the scene with a machete in hand and made his way onto Highway 401 in the area of Highway 28. While in live lanes of traffic on the east and westbound lanes of the highway, the Complainant accosted motorists as they passed him, attempting to commandeer their vehicles. He continued north of the highway where he entered a pickup truck waiting at the drive-thru lane of a Tim Hortons. From the rear driver’s seat, the Complainant ordered the driver – CW #1, to drive away from the service centre at knife-point. Also in the truck at the time was CW #2.
The PHPS and the OPP received reports from the public about the Complainant’s antics on the highway and at the Tim Hortons. Officers were dispatched to investigate.
The Complainant had CW #1 drive at high speed through Cobourg and eventually onto the eastbound lanes of Highway 401. The OPP caught up with the pickup truck westbound on Highway 401 in the area of Percy Street. By this time, OPP units in the area were aware of the carjacking that had occurred at the Tim Hortons. WO #1 was operating a marked cruiser on the highway when his vehicle was overtaken on the southern shoulder by the pickup truck. The officer attempted to keep pace but could not keep up with the truck and abandoned any thought of pursuing the vehicle. Shortly thereafter, OPP officers in separate cruisers attempted to slow the truck by surrounding it on the highway. On each occasion, the truck was able to maneuver around the cruisers and continued at speed westward.
At Morrish Church Road, in order to avoid additional cruisers up ahead, CW #1 exited the highway and continued north until Highway 2, where he turned to travel west. OPP officers tracked the vehicle from behind and arranged for the deployment of a spike belt, which occurred as the pursuit entered Newcastle at the intersection of King Avenue East and Beaver Street. The truck traversed the spike belt damaging its front driver’s side tire.
A couple of kilometres further down the road, the truck now hobbled and slowing, CW #1 exited the highway onto the southbound lanes of Highway 115/35. CW #1 continued a short distance towards the on-ramp for the westbound lanes of Highway 401, at which point he was forced off the roadway into the ditch north of the ramp by OPP cruisers surrounding the truck.
As the truck slowed to a stop, CW #2 opened the passenger door and exited while the vehicle was still moving. CW #1 also exited the truck from the driver’s door after it had come to a stop. As this was occurring, the Complainant, who had threatened CW #1 and CW #2 with death throughout their ordeal, and stabbed CW #1 twice in the back with his machete, turned the weapon on himself and cut his neck. The time was about 11:54 a.m.
WO #2 was the first OPP officer to approach the truck. He saw the Complainant in the back seat holding a machete with blood on it. The Complainant was bleeding from the neck. He quickly lapsed into unconsciousness and lost vital signs.
Officers removed the Complainant from the vehicle, placed him on the ground, and applied first-aid, including the administration of CPR.
An air ambulance arrived on scene and transported the Complainant to hospital in Toronto. He was pronounced deceased at 1:16 p.m.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to ‘stab wounds to neck’.
Analysis and Director's Decision
There is no indication of any force having been directly applied to the Complainant by any police officer, and certainly none in connection with the mortal neck wounds he suffered. Those, the evidence makes clear, were self-inflicted by the Complainant at the end of a police pursuit.
Nor is there indication of a want of care on the part of the officers, sufficient to attract criminal sanction, in their dealings with the Complainant. The officers who pursued the truck the Complainant was effectively operating were within their rights in attempting to stop the vehicle. Given the information that had been received about the Complainant’s volatile and violent behaviour on Highway 401 and his subsequent carjacking of the pickup truck, the officers had grounds to arrest the Complainant for serious criminal offences.
The attempted rolling blocks of the truck, the deployment of a spike belt, and, finally, the use by WO #5 of his cruiser to force the truck off the on-ramp onto the ditch were tactics reasonably available to the officers in their attempts to stop the vehicle. It is true that these maneuvers carried with them risks to the public. I am satisfied, however, that those risks were not disproportionate to the countervailing risks of allowing the truck, containing hostages and operated for stretches at speeds in the neighbourhood of 160 to 170 km/h, to continue its flight from police. As it turns out, the apprehension techniques adopted by the police did not result in a risk to public safety materializing in injury to a third-party, including any of the persons in the truck.
Lastly, it bears noting that the officers, including WO #1 and WO #4, the latter a DRPS officer and former medical professional, appear to have done everything they could to render first-aid to the Complainant after they found him in the truck with his knife wounds.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers involved in the events that culminated in the Complainant’s death failed to comport themselves within the limits of the criminal law, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: May 6, 2022
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 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]
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.