TORONTO, Nov. 6 /CNW/ - James Cornish, the Director of the Special
Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds
to believe that two Toronto Police Service (TPS) officers committed a criminal
offence when they shot and injured two men on January 16, 2007.
Justin McMahon, 21 years of age, and Michael Yang, 22 years of age, were
in a Dodge Neon when they were shot. The driver of the car, Mr. McMahon, was
shot four times and sustained injuries to his arm and shoulder and a gunshot
wound to the side of his head, behind his ear. The passenger, Mr. Yang, was
shot once in his upper chest area. Both are recovering from their injuries.
The SIU investigation determined that at approximately 2:07 a.m. on
January 16, a TPS officer radioed the communications dispatch and said that he
was trying to stop a red Dodge Neon for speeding on Parliament Street at
Gerrard Street. The driver allegedly refused to stop and the officer did not
pursue the car due to poor road conditions.
At about 2:10 a.m., two plainclothes officers in an unmarked Chrysler
Intrepid reported seeing the Neon at Jarvis and Richmond Streets. The officers
followed the car around the downtown core, eventually travelling westbound on
King Street toward Bay Street. At the intersection, the driver of the Neon
stopped for a red traffic signal. A large garbage truck had stopped beside it
in the passing lane.
The officer driving the Intrepid drove around the garbage truck and
stopped in front of the Neon, blocking its path. The officers exited their
car, identified themselves as the police, and yelled at the men to get out of
the Neon. The Neon proceeded to move forward on two occasions in the direction
of the officers and the officers' vehicle, striking the passenger side of the
officers' vehicle on one such occasion. The officers responded by discharging
their firearms at the Neon. In total, the officers fired fourteen shots during
The Neon eventually came to a stop on Bay Street. Additional officers
arrived and took control of the situation. It was determined that both Mr.
Yang and Mr. McMahon had received gunshot wounds. Both men were taken to
hospital for treatment.
As part of the investigation, SIU investigators interviewed a total of
twenty-four police and civilian witnesses. The shooting scene was mapped and
measured and the involved vehicles were forensically examined. Thirteen spent
cartridge cases were recovered from the scene and submitted to the Centre of
Forensic Sciences for analysis. Investigators also canvassed the businesses in
the surrounding area and located two surveillance video recordings, which were
reviewed. The investigation was primarily delayed as investigators tried to
locate the driver of a taxi that was seen on tape passing by the area at the
time of the incident. Despite making hundreds of phone calls investigators
were never able to identify the driver. Police reports, communications tapes,
and training records were also reviewed.
Based on all the available evidence the Director concluded the officers
had ample grounds to arrest the occupants of the Neon based on the manner in
which the vehicle was being driven prior to the events at King and Bay Streets
and further that they were in the lawful discharge of their duties as they
moved in to arrest the two men. The officers believed the way the vehicle was
being operated by Mr. McMahon after they positioned their vehicle in front of
the Neon constituted a direct and imminent danger to their lives justified a
resort to lethal force. Director Cornish said, "I am satisfied their resort to
gunfire fell within the range of justifiable options prescribed by the
Mr. McMahon currently faces charges as a result of this incident. The SIU
will not be releasing any further information in relation to this
Investigation in order to protect the fair trial interests of the young man
and the community.
The SIU is a civilian government agency that investigates circumstances
involving police and civilians, which have resulted in serious injury or
death. Under Section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU
has the authority to decide whether or not charges are warranted based on the
findings of an investigation. The Director's decision is reported to the
For further information:
For further information: Frank Phillips, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou