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SIU clears Toronto police in fatal Carnival shooting

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has absolved Toronto Police of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a man at the Caribbean Carnival parade in Toronto.

Thirty-year-old Kevin Murray was killed and innocent bystander, 21-year-old Megan Martin, was injured, after two officers opened fire on Murray, who was brandishing a gun.

It happened on July 30, 2011.

The SIU interviewed twenty-eight civilian witnesses during their investigation.  

According to the agency’s report released Monday, Murray and an accomplice became embroiled in a physical confrontation with another man.

When a bystander started filming the fight, Mr. Murray and his friend attacked him.   

“A number of…witnesses observed that at some point in the altercation, Mr. Murray had a gun in his waistband and at one point one of them saw Mr. Murray with a handgun in his right hand, chasing the photographer,” the SIU stated.

Two police officers rushed to the scene, where the situation escalated.

“One of the subject officers repeatedly told Mr. Murray to drop his weapon and get down on the ground. Mr. Murray refused to do so and pointed his gun in the direction of the subject officer. Both subject officers discharged their firearms at Mr. Murray. Mr. Murray sustained fatal gunshot injuries,” the report explained.

SIU Director Ian Scott explained the decision, saying, “In my view, both subject officers had the lawful authority to use lethal force in these circumstances…Mr. Murray represented an imminent threat to not only the subject officers but other people in the immediate vicinity.”

Martin was also struck by one of the officer’s bullets.

“…the fact that one of their discharges missed its target and struck an innocent person is a great tragedy,” Scott said. “However, given the imminent threat that Mr. Murray represented, I am of the view that the subject officers’ discharges were justified.”

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.