Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo officer 'justified' in Cambridge shooting, says SIU

Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, says Waterloo Regional Police Const. Elizabeth Skelding "had no other choice" than to shoot 30-year-old Wesley LaForme during a bloody domestic violence call earlier this spring in Cambridge, saying her actions likely saved a woman's life.

SIU says Const. Elizabeth Skelding likely saved a woman's life when she shot Wesley LaForme

The townhouse complex at 95 Morning Calm Drive, where a woman was stabbed multiple times by her common law husband (Tony Smyth)

Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, says Waterloo Regional Police Const. Elizabeth Skelding "had no other choice" than to shoot 30-year-old Wesley LaForme during a bloody domestic violence call earlier this spring in Cambridge, saying her actions likely saved a woman's life.

Having been seriously wounded, [ Skelding ] had no other choice but to use lethal force,- SIU Director Tony Laparco

The SIU report into what happened at the townhouse on Morning Calm Drive in Cambridge lays out the first detailed account of the police shooting since the night of April 30, 2015. 

Investigators say the incident actually began late evening, the previous day, when a woman called 9-1-1 to report that she had been assaulted by her common law husband. 

SIU investigators say the woman told police that she had ended her relationship with 30-year-old Wesley LaForme earlier that morning after he had choked and threatened to kill her. 

Frantic 9-1-1 call

A few hours after her 9-1-1 call, LaForme returned to her townhouse, prompting the woman to frantically dial 9-1-1 again as LaForme broke in to her home. 

Const. Elizabeth Skelding was the first officer to arrive on scene, parking her cruiser in front of the home's driveway, according to SIU investigators. 

The bloody knife LaForme used to stab his common law wife nine times in the body, neck and face lies in the street in front of her home. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

As Skelding was bringing her police car to a halt, the SIU says a woman began walking towards the cruiser. Following behind was LaForme, who was wielding a kitchen knife. 

Once he caught up, SIU investigators say he began to stab the woman, viciously thrusting the knife into her body, neck and face a total of nine times. 

According to SIU investigators, Skelding first tried to manually disarm LaForme, but she was stabbed in the leg.

She then shot him once. 

No reasonable ground for charges

In a statement Tuesday, SIU Director Tony Laparco said there are no reasonable grounds to lay charges against Skelding in connection with the shooting incident, saying she was justified in self-defense. 

Laparco even noted that Skelding showed proper restraint in her use of force, given the circumstances. 

"[Skelding] did not immediately shoot [LaForme], however. One would expect that, even at close range, such a shot could have placed the woman at significant risk," he wrote. 

"Her prompt actions likely saved the woman's life," SIU Director Tony Leparco wrote of Waterloo Police Const. Elizabeth Skelding in his report on the single shot she used to bring down a man armed with a knife earlier this spring. (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press)

"Instead, the officer tried to physically disarm Mr. LaForme. He fought her off and stabbed her in the leg. Having been seriously wounded, [Skelding] had no other choice but to use lethal force to stop Mr. LaForme."

"In the final analysis, [Skelding] was acting within her duty to protect and preserve life when she came to the woman's aid," Leparco wrote.  "This drew the officer into a life or death struggle with Mr. LaForme, and her prompt actions likely saved the woman's life."

The SIU said that Skelding chose not participate in the shooting investigation. 

LaForme is currently serving a 10-year sentence for the double stabbing in Cambridge earlier this spring. 

At his sentencing hearing in October, LaForme was forced to use a wheelchair because there are still fragments of the bullet fired by Skelding lodged in his spine. 

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