Ontario's police watchdog has cleared two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 37-year-old man who killed his pregnant wife and stabbed several other people, including his two young children, in the Town of East Gwillimbury in February.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) released its report of the Feb. 6 incident on Saturday.
According to the report, at about 2:25 p.m. that afternoon, York Regional Police began to receive calls about at a stabbing at a home on Ridge Gate Crescent in Mount Albert, a village on the eastern edge of the town.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene at about 2:33 p.m. where officers found a woman, who had been stabbed, lying on the driveway of home behind a minivan. The woman, known to be the suspect's sister, told police the suspect was inside the home.
When officers approached the front door, they passed by a woman — the suspect's pregnant wife — who was dead on the front porch, SIU says.
Suspect shot 4 times after stabbing sons
Two police officers forced their way into the home and found the 37-year-old suspect holding his two-year-old son, who was suffering from severe stab wounds, SIU says.
Police reportedly implored the suspect to put the child down, but at one point, he hit the child's head against a wall multiple times and made his way into the kitchen where he armed himself with a knife.
The report says the suspect made "several stabbing motions toward the child which never connected, as if trying to provoke [police]" to shoot him.
The suspect then moved into the bedroom. Two officers had their guns drawn and pointed at the suspect, who was still holding his two-year-old.
The suspect walked to the foot of the bed where his four-year-old son was kneeling, bent down, and stabbed him, SIU says.
An officer fired his gun twice at the suspect, who fell onto his back. The four-year-old was quickly carried outside to paramedics by the the officer.
Seconds later, the suspect, still armed with a knife, made a movement toward the two-year-old child who was lying next to him on the floor, which prompted the second officer to fire two additional shots at the suspect, the report says.
The suspect was declared dead at the scene. The two young children as well as the suspect's sister survived their injuries.
Officers actions saved lives of kids, SIU director says
SIU director Joseph Martino determined there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the man's death.
"The officers exercised significant restraint before resorting, reasonably, in my view, to lethal force," Martino said.
Of the officer who fired the first shots, Martino said: "It is not a stretch to say that the officer's actions might well have saved the lives of one or both of the kids."
You can read the full SIU report here.
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.