SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OFD-243
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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 section 14 (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 56-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIU On June 25, 2023, at 3:16 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) notified the SIU of the death of a male, later identified as the Complainant.
According to the OPS, at 2:08 p.m., June 25, 2023, OPS police officers were called to the area of St. Patrick Street and Parent Avenue, Ottawa, following reports of a man waving a knife around and lunging at cars. Uniformed police officers responded and engaged the man. Tactical communications failed, and the man refused to drop the knife. A conducted energy weapon (CEW) was deployed, after which an officer discharged his pistol, striking the man. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded, and paramedics advised the man was deceased.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 2023/06/25 at 3:45 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 2023/06/25 at 8:35 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):56-year-old male; deceased
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Not interviewed (next-of-kin)
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
CW #6 Interviewed
CW #7 Interviewed
CW #8 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between June 25, 2023, and July 10, 2023.
Subject Officials (SO)SO #1 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on June 26, 2023.
The Scene The events in question transpired in and around the area of St. Patrick Street and Sussex Drive, Ottawa.
On June 25, 2023, at 11:15 p.m., two SIU forensic investigators arrived at the scene. St. Patrick Street was a tree-lined, east-west road. It was a one-way road with two westbound lanes and one dedicated bicycle lane. There were sidewalks on both sides of the street. There were residences on the south side of the street and the Notre Dame Cathedral on the north side. The shooting scene was in the roadway.
Parent Avenue was to the east, and Sussex Drive was to the west.
There was a blood pool (Exhibit 16) in the middle of the street. It was surrounded with medical equipment and debris.
Cartridge cases were located north and west of the pool of blood. Five .40 calibre cartridge cases (Exhibits 1 to 5) were recovered at the scene, which bore the headstamp ‘WIN .40 S&W’. They were located north of the pool of blood, on the north curb of St. Patrick Street. Three 9 mm cartridge cases (Exhibits 6 to 8) were also recovered, which bore the headstamp ‘Luger 9 mm WIN’. They were in the north curb lane of St. Patrick Street, west of the grouping of the .40 calibre cartridge casings. [It was reported that the OPS were transitioning from .40 calibre pistols to 9 mm pistols, and that some police officers were still using the .40 calibre pistols.]
A CEW Taser 7 (Exhibit 15) was on the pavement west of the pool of blood. The Taser 7 had two different cartridges in the weapon. The SIU could not download the Taser 7 to obtain its activity log. The deployed cartridge was collected as an exhibit (Exhibit 12). A CEW anti-felon identification tag (AFID) (Exhibit 9) was north of the blood and a CEW AFID (Exhibit 10) was at the pool of blood. A CEW blast door (Exhibit 11) was on the west side of the blood pool and a CEW X2 cartridge (Exhibit 12) was south of the pool of blood.
A large kitchen knife (Exhibit 13) was on the south sidewalk.
A residence on the south side of the street had suspected bullet damage to the front door. The bullet perforated the door and was found on the floor inside the residence. The bullet holes to the door, inside and out, were photographed, and the bullet (Exhibit 14) was collected as an exhibit.
There were three police vehicles and an EMS ambulance within the scene. The ambulance was orientated west, in the north lane, east of the medical debris. It had been left at the scene because the body of the Complainant had been held there prior to being transported to the morgue. No evidence was found in the ambulance, which was photographed and its position marked.
The OPS vehicle operated by WO #1 was a fully marked, blue and white Ford Explorer, which was oriented west, in the south lane, east of the medical debris, and behind the vehicle occupied by SO #1 and WO #2.
The OPS vehicle occupied by SO #1 and WO #2 was a fully marked, blue and white Ford Explorer, which was oriented west in the south lane, east of the medical debris. The emergency lights were on, and the rear hatch was open.
The OPS vehicle operated by SO #2 was a fully marked, blue and white Ford Explorer. It was stopped in the south lane facing west. The engine was running, and headlights were on, but the emergency lights were off. It was oriented west in the south curb lane a considerable distance west of the medical debris.
All evidence was marked with number markers and collected, and the scene was photographed to show the overall location and position of the evidence.
A SIU forensic investigator subsequently attended the second scene, which was further west on St. Patrick Street, near Murray Street. Information was received that the Complainant had confronted the driver of a vehicle, and that the involved vehicle was still at the location. At St. Patrick Street and Murray Street, CW #8’s vehicle was parked. This vehicle was undamaged and was photographed.
At 1:54 a.m., June 26, 2023, the OPS protected the first scene overnight.
At 8:55 a.m., two SIU forensic investigators returned to the scene to continue the search for further exhibits and exhibit collection. The area was searched with a metal detector to look for further cartridge cases and projectiles. A Leica 360 scanner was used to record the scene.
Officers’ EquipmentSO #2
The duty belt of SO #2 contained:
- A Glock 17, Gen 5, 9X19 pistol, with 14 – 9 mm cartridges in the magazine, and 1 – 9 mm cartridge in the chamber.
- Two magazines, each with 17 cartridges of 9 mm ammunition.
- A Taser 7 with two non-deployed cartridges.
- A collapsible baton.
- A container of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray.
- One pair of handcuffs.
SO #2’s uniform, which included his police vest with name and police markings, was photographed. There were no obvious transfers of blood or noticeable damage to the uniform.
Figure 1 – SO #2’s firearm
The duty belt of SO #1 contained:
- Two magazines, each with 15 cartridges of .40 calibre ammunition.
- A Glock 22, Gen 4 .40 calibre pistol, with 9 - .40 calibre cartridges in the magazine, and 1 -.40 calibre cartridge in the chamber. The pistol was also equipped with a Surefire light fixed beneath the barrel.
- A Taser 7, with two non-deployed cartridges.
SO #1’s uniform, which included his police vest with name and police markings, was photographed. There were no obvious transfers of blood or noticeable damage to the uniform.
Figure 2 – SO #1’s firearm
The OPS provided WO #1’s black Taser X2 CEW. The CEW had one non-deployed cartridge in it and the other cartridge was missing.
Figure 3 – Deployed CEW cartridge
Other ItemsA knife, made of stainless steel with a 12-centimetre handle and a 20-centimetre blade, was collected at the scene by the SIU.
Figure 4 – The knife held by the Complainant
Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) - ProjectilesThe SIU submitted the projectiles it recovered to the CFS for examination.
Deployment Data from WO #2’s CEWThe data downloaded from WO #2’s CEW indicated that its trigger was pulled at about 2:17 p.m., June 25, 2023, for a charge duration of 1.58 seconds. 
Deployment Data from WO #1’s CEWAt 2:17:15 p.m., June 25, 2023, the safety was moved from safe to armed and, shortly thereafter, cartridge one, a 25-foot cartridge, was deployed for five seconds.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Police Communications RecordingsOn June 25, 2023, starting at about 2:08 p.m., CW #7 called the OPS 911 line and reported that a man, later identified as the Complainant, was pacing back and forth with a large knife in his hand on St. Patrick Street, near the art gallery. CW #7 gave a description of the Complainant and reported that the Complainant had pointed the knife at persons on the street. A second call was received from CW #6, who reported the same information and described the knife as a large butcher knife.
Starting at about 2:11 p.m., CW #8 called 911 and reported that the Complainant was on St. Patrick Street, near the Notre Dame Cathedral, and there were people on the sidewalk from the church.
Starting at about 2:12 p.m., SO #2 was on scene. He reported approaching the Complainant, who refused to drop the knife.
Starting at about 2:13 p.m., WO #2 reported that shots had been fired and a CEW was deployed. WO #2 then reported that the Complainant had been shot multiple times and an ambulance was requested.
Starting at about 2:14 p.m., WO #1 advised everything was under control.
Starting at about 2:14 p.m., WO #2 advised that police officers were continuing CPR.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the OPS between June 26, 2023, and August 22, 2023:
- General Occurrence;
- Written statement – SO #1;
- Notes - SO #1;
- Written statement – SO #2;
- Notes - SO #2;
- Training records – SO #1;
- Training records – SO #2;
- Arrest Policy;
- Mental Health Policy;
- Use of Force Policy;
- Record of computer-assisted dispatch;
- Communications recordings;
- List of civilian witnesses;
- Next-of-kin information;
- Subject Profile; and
- CEW deployment data – WO #2 and WO #1.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained the following records from other sources between July 17, 2023, and August 28, 2023:
- Ambulance Call Details Reports; and
- Paramedic Incident Reports.
At about 2:10 p.m. of June 25, 2023, OPS began to receive 911 calls about a male – the Complainant – brandishing a knife around the intersection of St. Patrick Street and Sussex Drive. Police officers were dispatched to investigate.
The Complainant was of unsound mind at the time. With a knife in hand, he had been pacing in the area of the intersection, on at least one occasion speaking to his hand as if it were a cell phone.
SO #2 was the first officer to arrive on scene in his police cruiser. A bystander directed SO #2 to the Complainant’s location, and the officer brought his cruiser to a stop on the roadway a short distance east of Sussex Drive. The Complainant was on the south sidewalk of St. Patrick Street with the knife in his right hand. SO #2 exited the cruiser, drew his firearm, and ordered the Complainant to drop the knife. The Complainant did not do so but, rather, moved towards the officer with the knife in hand. SO #2 backtracked to maintain distance from the Complainant.
SO #1 arrived on scene within seconds of SO #2, bringing his cruiser to a stop in the south lane. With him was WO #2. SO #1 and WO #2 drew their firearms and joined SO #2 on the roadway. Positioned shoulder-width apart from each other in a semi-circle formation, with SO #2 furthest west, WO #2 in the middle and SO #1 furthest east, the officers continued to order the Complainant, south of the officers, to drop the knife. WO #2 holstered his firearm and drew his CEW.
WO #1 was the next officer to arrive. He stopped his cruiser directly behind SO #1’s vehicle and exited onto the south sidewalk. The Complainant walked eastward towards the officer on the sidewalk. WO #1 pointed his firearm at the Complainant and directed him to the drop the knife. The Complainant continued to advance a distance before turning to his left and moving quickly northward towards the trio of other officers on scene.
With the Complainant travelling towards them, WO #2 fired his CEW. The deployment failed to immobilize the Complainant, who continued to advance and was met by gunfire from SO #2 and SO #1. The former fired three times, striking the Complainant once or more. The latter fired five or six times, inflicting multiple wounds on the Complainant. The Complainant remained standing for a moment before collapsing onto the middle of the roadway in front of SO #2’s cruiser. The time was 2:13 p.m.
WO #1, still on the south sidewalk, approached the Complainant’s body from the east. As the Complainant was still holding the knife and moving on the ground, the officer decided to deploy his CEW. The probes made contact and the Complainant locked-up, at which point WO #1 moved in to remove the knife from his grip.
The officers on scene proceeded to administer emergency first-aid to the Complainant, including CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator, before the arrival of paramedics. The Complainant was subsequently declared deceased on scene.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to a “gunshot wound of the chest”.
Section 34, Criminal Code - Defence of Person – Use or 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.
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply if the force is used or threatened by another person for the purpose of doing something that they are required or authorized by law to do in the administration or enforcement of the law, unless the person who commits the act that constitutes the offence believes on reasonable grounds that the other person is acting unlawfully.
Section 88(1), Criminal Code -- Possession of weapon for Dangerous Purpose88 (1) Every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.
Analysis and Director's Decision
Section 34 of the Criminal Code provides that conduct that would otherwise constitute an offence is legally justified if it was intended to deter a reasonably apprehended assault, actual or threatened, and was itself reasonable. The reasonableness of the conduct is to be assessed in light of 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 gunshots fired by SO #2 and SO #1 fell within the limits of justification prescribed by the provision.
The subject officials were lawfully placed and in the exercise of their duties throughout the series of events leading to the Complainant’s shooting. Having been called to the scene of a male wielding a knife at passersby in and around the intersection of Sussex Drive and St. Patrick Street, the officers were within their rights in attending at the scene to take the Complainant into custody for the offence of ‘weapons dangerous’, contrary to section 88 of the Criminal Code, and ensure public safety.
Though neither subject official, as was his right, chose to interview with the SIU, I am satisfied that they both acted to deter a reasonably apprehended knife attack at the hands of the Complainant when they fired their guns. That is what they say in their written statements and notes of the incident, an assertion buttressed by the circumstantial evidence. At the time of the gunfire, the Complainant was advancing on SO #2, WO #2 and SO #1 while wielding a knife and had neared to within several metres of the officers – striking distance – when the gunfire began. The officers had every reason to fear that the Complainant would use the knife against them – citizens had called police fearful of the Complainant’s intentions and the officers themselves had been unable to convince him to stop his advance and drop the weapon. On this record, there is no doubt that the force used by the officers was defensive in nature.
I am also satisfied that the gunfire by SO #2 and SO #1 constituted reasonable force in the circumstances. Events unfolded very quickly and there was no real opportunity to consider alternative courses. Even still, SO #2, the first officer on scene, attempted to de-escalate the situation. He appears to have realized that the Complainant was in mental health crisis and tried to calm him by asking his name and explaining he was there to help. Regrettably, given his state of mind, the Complainant was unreceptive. Withdrawal from the scene was not a viable option. Though their presence might have contributed to the Complainant’s agitation, there were bystanders in the area whose safety would have been placed at risk had the officers pulled away. The Complainant was repeatedly asked to stop and drop the knife. As he moved northward towards the officers on St. Patrick Street, WO #2 fired his CEW. Had its probes found their mark, it might have resulted in the Complainant’s momentary incapacitation, affording the officers a window to safely disarm him. Unfortunately, the use of the CEW did not stop the Complainant’s advance, and the officers were left with little recourse but to use their firearms to protect themselves and each other. A physical engagement would have placed their lives at risk of grievous bodily harm or death from the knife, as would a resort to other weapons at their disposal - OC spray or a baton - without the immediate stopping power of a firearm. As to the number of shots fired by the officers, I am persuaded that the threat apprehended by the officers would have prevailed throughout the gunfire – the rounds were discharged in rapid succession with perhaps only a very brief pause between a first and second volley - and there is no suggestion that they continued after the Complainant was down. In the circumstances, the evidence establishes that the conduct of the subject officials was commensurate with the exigencies of the situation when they chose to meet an imminent threat of death with a resort to lethal force of their own.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to conclude that either SO #1 or SO #2 comported himself other than lawfully throughout their engagement with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: October 23, 2023
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The information in this section reflects the information received by the SIU at the time of notification and does not necessarily reflect the SIU’s finding of facts following its investigation. [Back to text]
- 2) The times are derived from the internal clocks of the weapons, and are not necessarily synchronous between weapons and with actual time. [Back to text]
- 3) 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.