Man dies after drinking antifreeze during armed standoff at dealership with Peterborough police: SIU – Peterborough | Globalnews.ca

Ontario’s police watchdog says a police officer in Peterborough, Ont., did not commit a criminal offence in connection to an armed stand-off at an auto dealership that ended with a death of a man in August 2023.

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The Special Investigations Unit launched the investigation on Aug. 11 after a 28-year-old man died that day following an incident at the Peterborough Volkswagen dealership on Towerhill Road involving police.

In his report released on Friday, SIU director Joseph Martino says around 2:30 p.m on Aug. 11, a Peterborough Police Service officer attempted to stop the driver of a Jeep for a traffic infraction. Police stated in August that the vehicle fled from the Parkhill Road area and a pursuit was called off due to safety concerns.

Martino says the driver soon crashed the vehicle into a pole at the intersection of Chemong Road and Towerhill Road in the city’s north end. Martino says the man initially tried to hold up a taxi at gunpoint before making his way into the service garage of the dealership.

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Once inside, the man tried to obtain keys for vehicles under repair and then struck an employee in the back of the head with the firearm and held the employee at gunpoint, Martino reports.

One officer arrived at the scene ordered the man to drop the gun and “attempted to negotiate” with him, Martino says, but the man refused to comply.

“Rather, he held it pointed under his chin and repeatedly asked the officer to shoot him,” Martino stated. “The subject officer replied that he was not going to shoot him, but wanted him to release the gun so they could talk.”


Click to play video: 'Peterborough man shares his account of events leading to car dealership incident under investigation by SIU'


Peterborough man shares his account of events leading to car dealership incident under investigation by SIU


Martino says the man refused and then began to spray and pour automotive fluids from various containers onto nearby benches. The SIU report says the man then began to drink antifreeze from several containers — two of which were marked with warning labels — while ignoring officers’ demands to refrain from drinking.

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“Minutes later, the man collapsed and dropped his firearm,” Martino said. “Officers arrested the man and provided emergency care (CPR) until paramedics arrived.”

The man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead around 3:30 p.m., Martino said, noting a pathologist at autopsy was “unable to arrive at a preliminary cause of death.”

Martino said based on the evidence, including witnesses’ testimony and video surveillance, he determined the subject officer “comported himself with due care and regard for public safety, including the complaintant’s safety through their engagement.”

“From a distance of several metres, behind the front driver side of his cruiser, the subject officer did what he could to de-escalate the situation,” Martino concluded. “Though the complainant was in possession of a gun, which he could have discharged at the officer at any moment, the officer held his fire and tried to talk him down. Withdrawal from the scene was not an alternative in the circumstances. The complainant had already shown a propensity for violence and the officer could not be sure if, or how many, third-parties were in the vicinity who might be endangered without a police presence.”

Martino also noted the use of a conducted energy weapon or pepper spray were not reasonable options due to the officer’s distance from the man along with the presence of flammable materials in the service garage and the possibility of return gunfire if the weapons didn’t work.

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“In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to conclude that the subject officer conducted himself other than within the limits of the criminal law in his dealings with the complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed,” Martino said.


Click to play video: 'SIU probes circumstances of ‘medical’ distress’ that led to man’s death during situation with Peterborough police'


SIU probes circumstances of ‘medical’ distress’ that led to man’s death during situation with Peterborough police


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