Loading articles...

Man, 62, who died in police-involved shooting identified, Muslim Council of Peel demands public inquiry

Last Updated Jun 24, 2020 at 6:20 pm EDT

The family of the 62-year-old man who died in a police-involved shooting in Mississauga on Saturday night has confirmed his identity.

Ejaz Ahmed Choudry was pronounced dead on scene after an interaction with police. He has four children aged 6, 12, 13 and 18.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has taken over the investigation and a post mortem will be conducted on Monday.

One of the victim’s nephews, Hassan Choudhary, tells CityNews his uncle suffered from schizophrenia and was very ill physically – he could not move without assistance.

He says initially, one of Choudry’s children called the police non-emergency line because he has suffered from such episodes in the past. Paramedics were requested because his uncle was not taking his medication.

“Paramedics came in and they saw that he had a small pocket knife in his reach,” says Hassan. “As soon as they saw that, they felt that he was aggressive. They called the police.”

Hassan says police did not contact the family, but rather other members of the family let them know that officers had arrived at his uncle’s apartment.

Another nephew, Khizar Shahzad, who was at the scene at the time of the incident, said in a press conference Sunday that he and his brother were pleading with officers not to hurt their uncle.

“He’s so frail, I was afraid that even a tackle was going to kill him,” he said, adding that officers did not try to deescalate the situation.

“There was no conversation. They were yelling commands in English – he doesn’t speak English,” he said, adding that an interpreter on scene “did not say a word.”

“While they were banging on the door, the ETF officers came from the back, scaled the windows from the back and shot him,” he said.

The SIU said Peel police officers initially attended Choudry’s apartment to check on his well being.

When they arrived, Choudry had barricaded himself inside the residence.

Const. Sarah Pattenden also confirmed the man was suffering from a medical condition and was not taking his medication.

Const. Akhil Mooken said officers maintained constant communication with Choudry and were encouraging him to surrender to police, but just before 8 p.m., communication was cut off.

Police then decided to enter the residence due to Choudry’s extensive medical history.

There was then an interaction between the man and officers once they were inside the residence and shots were fired by police.

The SIU said the interaction included officers deploying a conducted energy weapon at the man and firing plastic projectiles from an Anti-Riot Weapon ENfield. They say when those methods had no effect, an officer discharged a firearm and Choudry was struck.

He was pronounced dead at the scene just after 8:30 p.m.

In an update on Sunday, the SIU said they have collected video footage from the area and interviewed several witnesses.

They said a knife was recovered from the scene along with a police-issued firearm and other evidence connected with the use of force options that the officers employed.

The Muslim Council of Peel is demanding a public inquiry into the shooting.

In a statement, the council said a disproportionate number of racialized people including Black, Indigenous and Muslim individuals are victims of police shootings in Canada and Peel Region.

They are calling for an “immediate review of the use of force particularly during mental health calls” and “demand an independent inquiry outside the role of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).” They also want race-based demographic data on police shootings made public.

“Given the video evidence and the testimony of family members, Peel Police’s conduct in this matter was clearly excessive and requires nothing short of an independent inquiry unconnected to the SIU,” said imam Ibrahim Hindy, Acting President of Muslim Council of Peel.