HAMILTON — A Hamilton landlord who killed two tenants and then barricaded himself inside a home said he wouldn't make it out alive before he was killed in a gunfight with police, according to a new report from Ontario's police watchdog.
In the report, which sheds more light on the hours-long May 27 standoff, the Special Investigations Unit says an officer used legally justified force when he shot and killed the 57-year-old landlord.
The SIU says negotiators repeatedly tried, with limited success, to reach the man holed up inside the house after he killed the two tenants, an engaged couple living in the unit below him. Family members and Hamilton police have previously identified the victims as Carissa MacDonald, 27, and Aaron Stone, 28.
Based on interviews conducted as part of its investigation and evidence collected from the scene, the SIU offered a detailed account of the events leading up to the standoff and the landlord's death.
After the landlord fatally shot the tenants outside the home around 5:38 p.m. that day, prompting several 911 calls from witnesses, officers arrived on scene and set up a perimeter around the house, the SIU said.
The landlord spoke to his family members on the phone during the standoff and repeatedly apologized for what he'd done, indicated he wouldn't make it out of the situation alive, and suggested he would fight police, the SIU report said.
At one point, he demanded that police remove their armoured vehicle from the front driveway. The SIU said police refused but did reverse the vehicle a bit farther away from the house.
Around 10:10 p.m., the man "fired multiple rounds from inside the house in the direction of the armoured vehicle," the SIU report said. About 20 minutes later, he "discharged another barrage of shots through the front door."
In response, an officer positioned behind the turret hatch of the armoured vehicle fired a single round from his rifle through a hole in the front door.
"The shooting from the home stopped instantly," the report said.
The SIU said the "mortally wounded" landlord was able to make his way to the garage, where he was ultimately found "lying face down on the floor," after police broke into the house.
The landlord was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:52 p.m., more than six hours after he killed his tenants. The SIU said police found firearms, magazines and ammunition beside him.
SIU director Joseph Martino said the officer's use of force was reasonable, noting both officers and civilians were within the gunman's arc of fire.
In a statement released a few days after MacDonald and Stone were killed, the couple’s family members said they were just days away from moving out of that apartment and into a new home.
MacDonald, an educational assistant, and Stone, an electrician, were described as responsible, “family-oriented” people who were dedicated to their careers and enjoyed spending time in nature.
"What happened to Carissa and Aaron was truly an act of unnecessary violence and they will be dearly missed," the statement said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.
The Canadian Press