SIU clears three Peel Police officers in Queen Fred shooting which killed one, injured two

Picture 2
(Screenshot: SIU)
BY KELLY ROCHE

A trio of Peel Regional Police officers have been cleared by the province’s Special Investigations Unit in relation to a shooting which killed a man and injured two others last spring in the Dixie Rd. and Dundas St. W. area.

The incident began on March 20 just after 4 p.m. when a resident of the townhouse complex at 3070 Queen Frederica Dr. called police to report a death threat made by a neighbour.
According to the resident, a female neighbour had called her a “witch,” made a death threat, and threw a knife at her.
Police arrived at 10 p.m. to investigate and view video footage of the earlier incident, determining there were grounds to arrest the female neighbour and her 22-year-old son.
The officers were confronted by the son – who was wielding a kitchen knife with a six-inch blade – at the door to their home.
The man resisted arrest and a struggle ensued, with police and the man ending up on the ground as they tripped over metal piping surrounding the yard.
Two officers were wounded with the knife during the scuffle.
During the struggle, the man’s mother came out of the house, hitting an officer on the back of the head with a metal pot.
That’s when the 22-year-old man slipped away and fled the scene.
Officers restrained the woman.
Then the 22-year-old man returned – knife in his right hand – and screamed at the officers to release his mother.
Officers drew their guns and ordered the man to stop.
When he didn’t stop, three officers fired and 11 out of 19 bullets hit the man.
Multiple gunshot wounds caused his death, the pathologist confirmed.
“As the man continued to close the distance between him and the officers, he clearly did so with an unlawful and dangerous purpose,” wrote SIU director Tony Loparco in his decision.
“He was armed with a knife and clearly intending to do harm with it. In fact, he had already used the knife to inflict injury on two officers, each of whom had been cut during the initial skirmish on the ground.”
There was no real opportunity for retreat by the officers, said Loparco.
“By the time the man had re-appeared following his initial flight, he was on the officers and closing in on their position quickly. One of the eyewitnesses with a view of the unfolding events indicates that one of the officers and the man were separated by about eight feet at the time of the shooting,” he wrote.
The shooting was legally justified.
Aside from the death, the investigation also established gunfire inadvertently injured nearby resident Suzan Zreik and another officer.
Zreik was in her kitchen when a bullet fired from one of the officer’s guns entered through the window and lodged in her back.
It has since been surgically removed.
As well, one officer – wearing a bullet-proof vest – suffered a serious bruise to the back, after being struck by one of the rounds fired by another officer.
Loparco concluded there are no grounds to charge the officers with criminal offences in relation to the injuries suffered by Zreik or the wounded officer.
“They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, through no criminal fault of anyone else,” Loparco wrote.
The investigation included interviews with 18 civilian witnesses and nine police witnesses, plus a video recording from one witness and forensic evidence gathered from the scene and the post-mortem.
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