CK officer cleared by SIU after shooting incident

An SIU vehicle. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn Media)

Ontario’s police oversight agency has cleared a Chatham-Kent police officer in an incident last fall that left a Tilbury man with gunshot wounds.

According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the incident happened during the evening of September 5, 2021, when Chatham-Kent police responded to a 911 call from a home on Laurentia Drive in Tilbury.

Officers arrived and located a 63-year-old man and a woman who told police the call was placed in error as they were trying to call 411. The officers allege the pair were intoxicated at the time, and officers left a shortly after.

Several hours later, just before 11 p.m., CK police received another call from the same man who reportedly told dispatchers that he was going to be in the area of Laurentia Drive and Rose Avenue with firearms. When officers arrived back at the home, the man was said to be seen by another officer holding a crowbar, with his other hand concealed in his waistband.

One of the officers tasered the man after he did not comply with an order to drop the crowbar. Police say the man then pulled an object from his waistband and believing he was retrieving a firearm from inside his jacket, the same officer fired his pistol, which struck the man twice, once in his right tricep, another in his right buttock. A third bullet hit a parked vehicle.

The man was later taken to Chatham-Kent Health Alliance for treatment of his injuries. The object the man pulled out turned out to be a small, cordless drill.

In his report, SIU Director Joseph Martino said the officer’s use of lethal force was not unreasonable as there was reason to believe the man was carrying and pointing a firearm.

“When the [man] finally did remove his right hand from his jacket, holding a cordless screwdriver that might reasonably have been perceived to be a firearm in the dark lighting conditions at the time, I accept that the [officer] acted to thwart what he legitimately believed to be a real and present danger of death to [the other officer],” Martino wrote in his analysis of the incident.

As a result, the file has been closed.

A full version of the report can be found online.