SIU Concludes Investigation into Shooting in Oakville



    TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - James Cornish, the Director of the Special
Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds
to believe that Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) officers committed any
criminal offence in connection with the death of Steve Remian.
    The SIU assigned six investigators and three forensic investigators (FI)
to probe the circumstances of this incident.
    On December 1, 2007, at 1:30 a.m. two citizens saw Mr. Remian in a Tim
Horton's parking lot located on Trafalgar Road in Oakville. Mr. Remian was
crying and distraught. They spoke with him, but left after Mr. Remian showed
them a rifle and made some comments that alarmed them. Mr. Remian got into his
car and sped away from the area. One of the citizens made a 911 call to the
HRPS and told them what had taken place. The citizen then provided a
description of Mr. Remian and the car he drove off in.
    A number of HRPS officers responded to this call in an attempt to locate
Mr. Remian. Just before 2:18 a.m. they located Mr. Remian driving in the area
of Wedgewood Park in east Oakville. Mr. Remian pulled into the park and drove
along a path into a stand of trees where his vehicle became stuck. HRPS
officers surrounded the car and attempted to negotiate with Mr. Remian for his
safe surrender. At 2:21 AM one of the officers flattened two of the car's
tires by shooting them. This was to stop Mr. Remian's efforts to free his car.
    What ensued after the tires were flattened was a concerted negotiation
effort. Throughout their dealings with Mr. Remian the officers were trying to
get him to put down his rifle and give up. He would not. During the attempted
negotiations Mr. Remian got out of his car armed with his rifle. (The SIU
investigation determined that the rifle was loaded, and Mr. Remian had more
than 400 rounds of ammunition available to himself, either in the gun, in his
pockets or in the car). Throughout the continued negotiations Mr. Remian held
the muzzle of the rifle under his chin and on more than one occasion it
appeared to those involved that he was trying to summon up the will to end his
own life.
    The negotiations continued until around 2:35 a.m. when one of the
officers saw an opportunity to try to bring the standoff to a peaceful end by
firing his Taser. Unfortunately there was a very narrow target of exposed skin
for the probes to attach to and it is clear that no good connection was made
to Mr. Remian's body and the Taser was ineffective.
    Mr. Remian ripped the probes out of his clothing and after a moment
levelled his gun at the officers. At this point the officers fired a number of
shots at Mr. Remian striking him 8 times. Mr. Remian fell to the ground. The
officers rushed over to Mr. Remian to see if they could possibly administer
first aid. They also summoned an ambulance that was waiting nearby. Mr. Remian
was pronounced dead at the scene.
    Director Cornish said, "These officers were dealing with a distraught,
inconsolable and depressed man who that morning was preoccupied with
self-destructive thoughts. The officers obviously had to isolate this man from
other civilians given the fact that he was armed with a firearm. They could
not simply retreat. That being said they did not rush the car. Instead they
chose what appears to have been their only reasonable option and that was to
attempt to convince him to disarm and surrender. The officers carefully
considered their use of force options and attempted to end this incident first
by use of negotiation and tactical communication and then by less-lethal force
through the Taser. Even then the Taser was not deployed until it appeared to
the officer that there was a reasonable prospect that it would be effective
and also not until the man's finger appeared to be off the trigger of the
rifle he was holding."
    Director Cornish concluded, "It is my view on the basis of the evidence
in this case that the officers were faced with a very real threat of lethal
force."

    The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates cases of serious injuries
(including allegations of sexual assault) and deaths involving the police.
Pursuant to section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU is
mandated to consider whether a criminal offence has been committed by an
officer(s) in connection with the incident under investigation and, where
warranted by the evidence, to cause a criminal charge or charges to be laid
against the officer(s). The Director reports the results of investigations to
the Attorney General.





For further information:

For further information: Frank Phillips, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou
1-800-787-8529 extension 2342

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