Police watchdog clears Toronto officer in fatal 2020 shooting of man at north-end hotel

Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared a Toronto officer in connection with the fatal shooting of a man at a north-end hotel in April 2020.

Officials said the shooting happened in the parking lot of a Best Western Hotel near Norfinch Drive and Finch Avenue West, just west of Jane Street, at around 12:18 p.m. on April 30.

At the time, Toronto police said they had received reports that a man was in a car armed with a gun and a knife.

Read more: Man dead after police-involved shooting in Toronto’s north end

The SIU said when an officer arrived, he got out of his cruiser as the man exited his vehicle. Following an “interaction,” the officer fired his gun multiple times and the man was struck.

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The 30-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to a statement issued by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) on Tuesday, it said the agency’s director, Joseph Martino, “determined there are no reasonable ground to believe that the officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the man’s death.”

“The evidence establishes that the [subject officer]’s conduct was justified in self-defence,” the report said.

“The officer was engaged in the execution of his duties when he responded to an urgent call of a male in the possession of a knife and handgun in the parking lot of the hotel just north of his location.”

The report said it is unclear why the victim “acted as he did,” adding evidence gathered appeared to show the man had mental health issues. It said the man “was of unsound mind at the time.”

Read more: Ontario’s police watchdog investigating death of woman who fell from Oshawa parking garage

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However, the SIU said the officer wouldn’t have knowledge of that factor during the incident, which was over “in a matter of seconds.”

“In that brief period of time, given what he knew and was faced with, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the [subject officer] acted other than lawfully when he discharged his firearm,” Martino concluded.

The SIU is an independent agency that investigates incidents involving police that have resulted in death, serious injury or an alleged sexual assault.

With files from Gabby Rodrigues

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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