SIU: Cop who shot man armed with hammer won't be charged
A member of Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is pictured in this file photo. (CP24/Tom Stefanac)
Paul Johnston, CTV Toronto
Published Friday, March 18, 2016 8:05PM EDT
The police officer who fatally shot a 45-year-old man armed with a hammer in July used justifiable force, the province’s police watchdog has determined.
Andrew Loku was fatally shot following a late-night interaction with police at an apartment on Gilbert Avenue, in the Caledonia and Rogers roads area, on July 5, 2015.
In a release Friday afternoon, details of the Special Investigations Unit’s probe into the circumstances surrounding the shooting were provided.
According to the SIU’s findings, two officers confronted Loku in a third-floor hallway after being called to the building for a report that Loku was threatening to kill a woman.
Several times, the officers ordered Loku to stop and drop the hammer after he began to walk towards them. He continued towards them, stating “what you going to do, come on, shoot me,” the SIU said.
Loku was shot twice after moving to within two to three metres of the officer, with the hammer raised above his head.
A post-mortem examination confirmed Loku died from the gunshots.
“Both responding officers repeatedly directed Mr. Loku to drop the hammer and they gave him ample opportunity to do so as Mr. Loku advanced upon their position,” SIU director Tony Loparco said in Friday’s release.
“The subject officer considered disengaging and creating further distance with Mr. Loku, but quickly dismissed the notion given the tight quarters involved. It was only when Mr. Loku had closed the gap between them to about a couple of metres – and it was apparent he was not about to stop – that the officer discharged his firearm.”
Loparco also concluded that the officer who fired the fatal shots “feared for his life and that of his partner.”
“Consequently there are no reasonable grounds, in my view, to believe that the officer exceeded the ambit of justifiable force in the circumstances,” Loparco said.
Three investigators and three forensic investigators were assigned to the case.
The SIU is an arm’s-length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.