Toronto Police Cleared in Non-fatal Shooting of Bank Robbery Suspect



    TORONTO, July 4 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special Investigations Unit
(SIU) has determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a
Toronto Police officer, involved in the shooting of a bank robbery suspect
earlier this year, committed any criminal offence.
    Officers responded to a call of an armed robbery in progress at the Royal
Bank branch on Sheppard Avenue west of Markham Road at approximately 3 p.m. on
March 25, 2008. The police had received information that the suspect told the
bank staff that he was armed with a bomb controlled by a hand-held remote
device.
    Police took up position outside the bank to block any escape by the man
as he left with cash and the apparent explosive device. He ignored all
commands to put down the device and, instead, advanced on one of the officers
at a steady pace outside the main doors of the bank. The officer fired three
shots at the man in rapid succession, each of them hitting the suspect.
Life-saving efforts began almost immediately with police, EMS and physicians
able to save the man's life.
    The SIU assigned five field investigators and four forensic investigators
to this case.
    The Director of the SIU, James Cornish, said: "As the incident unfolded,
there would have been no way for the subject officer to have known that the
bomb was not real; indeed, given the information that the officer possessed it
would have been unwise for him to have assumed that the bomb was part of a
hoax."
    The investigation found that the bomb was a fake, consisting of a box
inside a bag, with a remote garage door opener passing as the triggering
device.
    "Given the nature of the information provided to the subject officer and
the brief, few seconds in which he interacted directly with the suspect, there
was no reason for the officer to have believed anything but that the bomb was
real," concluded SIU Director James Cornish. "The subjective fear for the
lives and safety of himself and others was honestly held and objectively
grounded. In my view, the officer's choice to resort to potentially lethal
force cannot fairly be characterized as an unreasonable one."

    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: John Yoannou, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou
1-800-787-8529

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