Mother speaks out after 21-year-old fatally shot by police
Kendra Mangione and Dario Balca, CTV Toronto
Published Monday, March 14, 2016 7:05AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 14, 2016 9:19PM EDT
The mother of a man who was shot and killed by police claims her son never owned a weapon and had never been in trouble with the law.
Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after a 21-year-old Alex Wettlaufer was fatally shot in a North York park on Sunday night.
The Special Investigations Unit was called to investigate a shooting in the area of Leslie Street and Sheppard Avenue, which occurred at approximately 11 p.m.
“Our preliminary information is that TPS were called to the Leslie Street for a report of two men fighting,” said SIU spokesperson Jasbir Dhillon.
Witnesses said one of the two men involved in the fight had a gun.
But Wettlaufer’s mother Wendy said the details of the incident are unlike anything her son had ever been involved in.
“Alex does not carry a gun,” said Wendy Wettlaufer. “He’s never had a weapon and he doesn’t own a weapon,” adding that Wettlaufer was in a good mood and was playing video games before leaving the house Sunday night.
In a statement, the SIU said that one of the men fled on foot to a nearby park. There was a confrontation involving Toronto police, and a police firearm was discharged at approximately 12:30 a.m. The man was struck, and was rushed to hospital. The SIU later confirmed that the man was pronounced dead.
Police are not allowed to comment on the case, but sources told CTV’s Tamara Cherry that Wettlaufer was shot by as many as three Emergency Task Force officers, who are specially trained to deal with high-risk situations.
The sources say Wettlaufer was armed with a gun, but that it’s unclear if the weapon was real.
Wendy Wettlaufer’s said Alex was on the phone with her as the incident unfolded and was clearly in distress.
“He was crying and saying he was being surrounded--wanted to know why he was being surrounded,” she said. “(Police) kept telling him to put the weapon down and he kept telling them he didn’t have a weapon.”
A woman at the scene who identified herself as the victim's sister said he didn't carry any weapons and "doesn't get into trouble." She said her brother had enlisted in the Canadian Forces, and was waiting for a call back.
"It's not going to happen now," she told reporters on scene.
The SIU was called to the scene, and is conducting an investigation into the incident. Investigators have yet to provide information to reporters on scene.
The SIU is an arm’s-length organization that investigates police incidents involving death or injury.
Were you in the area when this incident happened? Can you tell us what you saw or heard? Call CTV News at 416-384-7100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An ambulance is parked near the scene of a shooting in Toronto on Sunday, March 13, 2016. (Michael Nguyen)