KIRKLAND LAKE - There are no charges against a police officer after a man was shot and killed by police.
On May 9, 2023, a man with a machete was killed by a police officer outside of École secondaire catholique L’Envolée du Nord on Duncan Avenue in Kirkland Lake. The Ontario Special Investigations Unit probe into the incident has wrapped up, with director Joseph Martino's decision being that there's no reasonable grounds to believe the officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the death.
The SIU is an arms-length agency that investigates police-involved incidents where there has been a death, serious injury, allegations of sexual assault, or the discharge of a firearm at a person.
The inspector's report details what happened that day in the community of over 7,000 people.
Kirkland Lake OPP arrived at the scene around 7:20 a.m. when a motorist called 911 after seeing a "shirtless and shoeless man, wearing only underwear, carrying a machete near the school."
Four officers responded. When they arrived at the scene, the man was sitting on a curb of the school's circular driveway with the machete still in his possession.
The victim was directed to drop the machete.
"The complainant was of unsound mind at the time. He spoke incoherently and occasionally waved the machete above his head," reads the report.
As the incident went on, the victim was tasered three times by the officers. While the second round briefly "appeared to incapacitate" the man, the taser was ineffective.
After the last discharge, the report says the man stood up and walked towards the officers with "the machete in his right hand at chest level." Officers directed him to drop the weapon and when he got within two to three metres of the subject officer, the officer fired his gun twice.
"One of the bullets struck the machete and broke off the blade from the handle. The other pierced the complainant’s upper right chest," says the report.
After the shooting, the SIU says the man started walking east toward the school. One of the officers "approached him from behind and tripped him to the ground. The officers began to administer emergency first-aid and called for an ambulance."
The man was brought to the hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead at 8:09 a.m.
In justifying his decision, Martino said the officer was lawfully doing his duties when he engaged with the man and based on the information and his observations, had "every reason to be concerned about public safety."
Firing twice was also reasonable, said Martino.
"He and the other officers on scene had repeatedly directed the complainant to drop the weapon he was holding, to no avail. The officer had also seen the complainant unaffected by three CEW (taser) discharges. In the circumstances, the complainant constituted a real and present danger to the lives of the (subject officer) and his colleagues as he advanced upon them wielding the machete in his right hand. Withdrawal or retreat were not viable alternatives given the speed with which events unfolded and the presence of third-parties in the area, including the anticipated arrival of school-goers," he wrote.
Read the full SIU report and analysis here.