No Charges Against Sault Ste. Marie Police Officers in Death of Man After Exchange of Gunfire
(20 January, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that two Sault Ste. Marie Police Service officers committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 19-year-old man last September after an exchange of gunfire with police.
In the early morning of September 19, 2021, officers responded to a residence on Pine Street after receiving a 911 call about a man, believed to have a firearm, threatening the lives of two people. Officers located the man outside the residence and drew their firearms. The man removed a firearm from his hoodie and shot multiple rounds at officers. One shot struck an officer in the left leg. Two officers returned fire and then took cover. One officer saw the man still standing and fired his weapon again. The man fell to the ground and, seconds later, shot himself in the head. Paramedics attended and pronounced the man dead at the scene.
Director Martino concluded that the subject officials were legally justified in firing their weapons to thwart an imminent risk of serious harm or death. He was satisfied that the two subject officials comported themselves lawfully in connection with the exchange of gunfire that preceded the man’s death. The file has been closed.
Full Director’s Report (with Incident Narrative, Evidence, and Analysis & Director’s Decision):
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations
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Kristy Denette, email@example.com
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES