Police cleared in shoot-out that killed Milton multiple murder suspect
Published December 20, 2022 at 5:19 pm
The province’s police watchdog has cleared officers of wrongdoing during a shootout with a man who gunned down a Milton auto shop owner and one of his workers.
A probe by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) into the gunfight that ended in a Hamilton cemetery found that officers were justified in using force against Sean Petrie, 40, after the suspect opened fire on them following a killing spree on Sept. 12 of this year.
Both Hamilton and Halton tracked the suspect to the cemetery after he fled the scene in Milton where he killed his former boss 38-year-old Shakeel Ashraf and 28-year-old Satwinder Singh, a worker at the shop. Another man was wounded. The events in Milton followed the murder of a Toronto police officer at a coffee shop in Mississauga.
Both Ashraf and Singh were working at MK Auto Repair Shop on Bronte Rd. S. that fateful day when Petrie, who previously worked at the garage, entered and opened fire, according to witnesses. Ashraf was killed at the scene and Singh, an international student, died later in hospital. Hours before, Constable Andrew Hong was killed at a Mississauga Tim Hortons in what police have since described as a targeted attack by a shooter who was deliberately on the lookout for an officer.
The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) report indicates Petrie “believed himself aggrieved by his former employer.”
(Petrie) arrived at the (auto) shop at about 2:30 p.m., confronted the owner in the garage, and shot him multiple times. The owner died of his wounds. Two employees witnessed the shooting and fled the area. (Petrie) fired at them but missed. Two other employees of the shop were confronted in the front desk area by (Petrie). The first employee was shot in the head and would later die of his wounds. The second employee was shot in the leg and lived. (Petrie) attempted to shoot the second employee again, but his gun was out of bullets. He fled the scene in the Jeep Cherokee, heading for Hamilton.
It is believed Petrie shot another man while dragging him out of his Jeep Cherokee to steal the vehicle. The victim was shot in the abdomen but survived.
After officers identified the shooting suspect, they tracked his mobile phone location to Hamilton Cemetery at 777 York Blvd. However, because he had switched vehicles, Hamilton police officers approached the Cherokee to confirm the suspect’s description. He then began firing his weapon at officers.
According to the SIU report, multiple officers yelled, “gun!” prompting police to take cover behind trees and return gunfire.
Halton Police tactical officers arrived at the scene with rifles and advanced shoulder-to-shoulder toward Petrie, who was taking cover behind a row of gravestones.
The report says the suspect emptied his magazine, and before he could reload his weapon, he was hit with a series of bullets and became incapacitated.
Officers on the scene reportedly attempted life-saving measures on him before paramedics could arrive. Petrie was pronounced dead shortly after.
SIU director Joseph Martino ruled that, while it’s “not altogether clear which bullets from which police firearms wounded (Petrie),” there are no reasonable grounds to believe officers conducted themselves outside the limits of the criminal law when they fired at him.
“There is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case. The file is closed.”
The full report can be found here.
– with files from Anthony Urciuoli