Peel officer Cleared of wrongdoing in shooting of carjacking suspect

By: Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,  Toronto Star
Ontario’s police watchdog has concluded that a Peel Regional Police officer acted lawfully when he shot and injured a 24-year-old man suspected of a series of violent carjackings in neighbouring Halton region.
Special Investigations Unit director Joseph Martino concluded that the officer used reasonable force to subdue the accused during an alleged attempt to evade arrest at a Brampton gas station on June 30, 2020.
Martino concluded that the Peel officer acted lawfully when he shot at a black Ford Mustang that police say the accused used to carry out the alleged carjackings.  “I am satisfied that the officer reasonably believed that shooting at the driver and incapacitating the Mustang’s operating mind was necessary if he was going to preserve himself from death,” Martino wrote.   Peel regional police robbery investigators had informed the officer and his tactical team of an alleged carjacking and attempted carjackings involving the Mustang and the complainant, earlier that day.
Police were told the suspects had allegedly used guns and knives to intimidate and assault victims.  Once the vehicle was spotted at the gas station, near Torbram Road and Williams Parkway, the subject officer pointed his gun at the suspect and shouted at him to stop.
According to the SIU account, the suspect accelerated backward and struck a vehicle behind him, almost hitting a man who was at the pump.  The driver then accelerated toward the officer, the SIU report continues. The officer dodged to his right to avoid being hit, then fired three shots at close range, believing it was necessary to protect himself from being run over, Martino wrote.   “The complainant had given every indication that he was not about to surrender peacefully,” Martino wrote in his analysis.
An air gun was recovered from the Mustang after the accused and another person in the vehicle were arrested.   “I am satisfied for the foregoing reasons that the subject officer and the other officers who participated in the operation that resulted in the complainant’s arrest conducted themselves lawfully throughout the incident, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case,” Martino wrote.