Peel police officer not facing charges after shooting man reportedly involved in multiple violent attacks in Mississauga

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The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says a Peel Regional Police officer will not face any criminal charges after shooting and possibly tasering a 29-year-old man who reportedly injured multiple people, some of them seriously, during a rampage in Mississauga brought on by a mental health crisis. 

The SIU says the officer who shot the man did not agree to be interviewed or submit her notes, as is her legal right. 

The SIU report says around 9:30 a.m. on May 2, 2020, the officer discharged her semi-automatic handgun at the man three times at close range after he emerged, bloodied and severely injured, from a garden shed in the backyard of the house on Holden Crescent. 

The report says the man, who fell after being shot in the leg, was holding a large serrated knife and bleeding from his neck. 

According to the report, the man had embarked on a "violent rampage" through the neighbourhood before being shot by the officer. Shortly after being involved in a crash in the Cawthra and Burnhamthorpe Rd. intersection, the man reportedly exited his vehicle and assaulted an elderly gentleman, taking his bicycle and setting off toward Hassall Road. 

The report says he made his way to a semi-detached house on Holden Crescent, broke in, and attacked one of the homeowners with a knife. The report says he then went on to attack the victim's wife, seriously injuring her in the process. The injured woman managed to escape and make her way to her son's house, where she called police and said that someone killed her husband.

According to the SIU, the man entered the backyard of the adjoining home on Holden Crescent and attacked another person with a knife, causing serious injuries.

When police arrived at the scene, a neighbour told officers that the man had been seen entering a shed in the backyard of the residence. The report says that when police approached the shed, the man began to repeatedly shout words to the effect of, "they're trying to kill me. You're going to have to kill me." A victim was in the shed with the man, although police did not realize that at the time, the SIU says. 

According to the report, officers asked the man to come out before deciding to wait for more officers to arrive. 

The officer who eventually shot the man spoke with another officer and they decided the second officer would draw his CEW (taser) as she stood ready with her firearm. Seconds later, the man opened the shed door and walked through it, cutting his own neck with a knife as he moved towards the officers. 

According to the report, the taser failed to subdue the man, who told officers that he escaped from a hospital where people were trying to kill him. The report says the man ignored verbal commands to stop and continued to walk towards the officer holding the gun. 

The report says that when the man came within two to three metres of the officer, she fired her weapon three times in rapid succession. The man was struck in the right leg and after he fell to the ground, the officers discharged their CEWs at him. The report says the officer who shot him with a firearm might have deployed her CEW twice.

Police soon found the person who was trapped in the shed with the man. That person, along with the suspect, was transported to hospital with serious injuries. 

Joseph Martino, the director of the SIU, said that based on his assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer who fired her weapon committed a criminal offence.

"The [officer] was acting in the discharge of her lawful duties when she made her way into the backyard of the address at Holden Crescent and confronted the [man]. The radio communications and witness information at the scene would have given her grounds to believe that the male who had fled from the scene of a nearby motor vehicle accident had assaulted a number of residents in the area and was hiding in the shed. That male - the man - was clearly subject to arrest," Martino wrote, adding that he's satisfied that the force used by the officer fell within the limits of legal justification. 

Martino argued that it was reasonable for officers to use their CEWs after the man fell, as the man reportedly "remained active" on the ground and had not yet been handcuffed.

Martino also wrote that a smaller knife was found near the man after he fell, suggesting he was still armed even though he dropped the large kitchen knife he was holding before he was shot. 

"The [man] was not of sound mind at the time of these harrowing events; he appears to have been suffering from a psychotic episode. Be that as it may, I am satisfied that the [officer] acted reasonably to contend with the circumstances as they unfolded given the exigencies of the situation," Martino wrote.

"In the final analysis, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that she and the other officers involved in the [man's] apprehension acted other than lawfully, there is no basis for pursuing criminal charges in this case." 

The SIU says the file is closed.

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