Guelph Hospital Fatal Shooting Investigation Completed; Officers Did Not Commit Criminal Offence
Case Number: 15-OFD-098
Other News Releases Related to Case 15-OFD-098
Mississauga, ON (2 March, 2016) —
There are no reasonable grounds to lay charges in a case where two Guelph Police Service officers shot and killed a man inside Guelph General Hospital, the Director the Special Investigations Unit has found.
The SIU assigned eight investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.
The two subject officers in this investigation declined to participate in SIU interviews and did not provide copies of their duty notes, as is their legal right.
The investigation did include interviews with seven witness officers and more than two dozen civilian witnesses. Eight surveillance videos from inside and outside the hospital also provided a comprehensive and coherent account of the events in question.
The investigation found the following:
- Just after 12:00 noon on May 20, 2015, 36-year-old Brandon Duncan entered Guelph General Hospital.
- Mr. Duncan spent about 45 minutes in the waiting area before he entered the triage hallway.
- Not long after, Mr. Duncan spoke to a registered nurse, indicating that there was an issue with his colostomy bag and that a particular component needed to be cut in order to remedy the problem. The nurse provided him with a pair of bandage scissors and he entered the washroom area.
- Two minutes later, Mr. Duncan returned to the triage area. He was bleeding profusely from fresh cuts on both of his forearms and clenching the same pair of scissors he had received earlier.
- Mr. Duncan then walked up to a young woman who was seated in the hallway and grabbed hold of the back of her neck, attempting to jab her with the pair of scissors. Her boyfriend intervened, dislodging Mr. Duncan’s grip and pushing him away.
- At the same time, the two subject officers were in the adjacent area of the hospital and heard the woman scream. They rushed towards the assault.
- Mr. Duncan turned to the officers, still brandishing the scissors. Both officers then drew their firearms and pointed them at Mr. Duncan, who began to move towards the officers.
- Both officers can be seen on video backing up with their firearms drawn. Mr. Duncan continues to move towards them and as he increases his gait and closes the distance between him and the officers, both officers discharged their firearms.
- Four seconds elapsed between the officers drawing and discharging their firearms.
- The post-mortem examination revealed that Mr. Duncan was shot a total of six times and died of trauma from multiple gunshot wounds.
SIU Director Tony Loparco said, “As soon as the officers entered the scene they could see an assault in progress involving a man armed with a pair of scissors who was acting in a violent manner. The man’s arms were covered in blood. From that point onwards, it was a matter of seconds until the shooting, at which time I have no doubt that both officers feared for their own lives , the lives of one another, and those of the various civilians in the immediate area.
“Both officers had backed up down the hallway with their firearms drawn while issuing commands to Mr. Duncan to stop advancing and put down the weapon. Despite this, Mr. Duncan continued to quickly close the distance between them with his weapon drawn. Only when there were no other apparent options available did the officers open fire almost simultaneously.
“What I must consider, then, is whether the discharge of the firearms was a reasonable use of force in the circumstances. If so, the shooting was justified. The applicable provision of the Criminal Code in this case is section 34(1), which provides the legal justification for the use of force in defence of self and defence of others.
“The available evidence satisfies, on reasonable grounds, all three of the requirements set out under s. 34 of the Criminal Code.
“Thus, there are no reasonable grounds, in my view, to believe that either subject officer exceeded the ambit of justifiable force in the circumstances and as a result, no charges will issue.”