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SIU clears Toronto police officers in Danforth shooter’s death

Last Updated Jan 16, 2019 at 6:25 pm EST

The province’s police watchdog said there are no grounds to charge two Toronto police officers in connection with the death of Danforth shooter Faisal Hussain.

The 29-year-old man opened fire in Greektown last summer, killing 10-year-old Julianna Kozis and 18-year-old Reese Fallon and injuring 13 others before shooting himself in the head.

“After a thorough investigation … I am satisfied that Mr. Hussain took his own life and that no (Toronto Police Service) officer involved in the incident committed a criminal offence,” Special Investigations Unit Director Tony Loparco said in his report.

“Indeed, in this case there is no evidence that the responding officers’ actions were anything but commendable in the face of truly perilous circumstances.”

Around 10 p.m. on July 22, several people called 911 to report an active shooter firing at restaurants near Danforth and Logan avenues.

The SIU said Hussain was shooting in the direction of 7Numbers restaurant when two officers arrived and got out of their cruiser with guns drawn. Hussain then reportedly turned and fired two to four shots at the officers who, fearing for their life, returned fire.

The west sidewalk of Bowden Street across the street from 7Numbers restaurant after a mass shooting in Toronto on July 22, 2018. Yellow evidence markers indicate the locations of five brass cartridge cases that were found. HANDOUT/SIU
The west sidewalk of Bowden Street across the street from 7Numbers restaurant after a mass shooting in Toronto on July 22, 2018. Yellow evidence markers indicate the locations of five brass cartridge cases that were found. HANDOUT/SIU

Forensic evidence shows one officer fired at Hussain three times in response, while the other fired at him once, the SIU said.

Video footage shows Hussain then ran north and west until he disappeared from sight behind a the Danforth Church on Bowden Street.

Another officer who was in the area found Hussain lying on his back near the church with a “significant injury to the right side of his head,” the agency said. The officer also reported seeing a shell casing next to Hussain’s head, an empty magazine on the sidewalk and a black handgun in his right hand.

Hussain’s autopsy report concluded he died from a gunshot wound to the head, an injury that would have immediately incapacitated and killed him, according to the SIU.

“After a careful review of this evidence, I am satisfied that neither (officer) caused Mr. Hussain’s death,” Loparco said.

“Instead, I believe that Mr. Hussain decided to kill himself rather than surrender to police and find (the officers’) use of force was entirely appropriate in the circumstances.”

The agency says it interviewed 15 civilian witnesses and seven police officers as part of its investigation. It also reviewed surveillance video, in-car camera footage and Hussain’s autopsy report as well as a firearms report.

With files from The Canadian Press


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