The director of the Special Investigations Unit concluded on Monday that there are no grounds to charge a Durham Regional Police officer who shot a teenager, on July 16, wielding an imitation gun.

The SIU, a watchdog agency that investigates incidents involving police in which death or serious injury occur, or when allegations of sexual assault are raised, said that the incident in question was when an officer responded to an armed-robbery call at the Sheridan Veterinary Services Clinic in Pickering, Ont. The officer was faced with the 17-year-old suspect wearing a balaclava who pulled out an imitation gun.

The agency then said that the officer gave the teen several warnings to drop his weapon before the officer fired eight times. The teen was shot twice and was taken to the hospital for emergency treatment.

"In my view, the subject officer was justified in discharging his firearm at the male — he reasonably believed that he was in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm when the suspected robber began raising, what appeared to be, a handgun in his direction," said Ian Scott, director of the SIU.

The watchdog agency reported that there was no way for the officer to determine that the gun was an imitation as the suspect had removed a fluorescent tip which is, by law, meant to plug the end of the barrel.

"The fact that the firearm turned out to be an imitation does not affect the analysis. I have no grounds to believe the subject officer committed a criminal offence."

With files from the Canadian Press