No charges recommended against officers in deadly Winnipeg police shooting

An investigation has concluded that police were justified in fatally shooting Mark Dicesare in November 2015 and that no charges should be laid against any officer.

Mark Dicesare, 24, died of gunshot wounds after wild chase ended in police standoff at Grant and Kenaston

An investigation has concluded that police were justified in fatally shooting Mark Dicesare in November 2015 and that no charges should be laid against any officer. 2:23
Mark Dicesare died after he was shot by police in November 2015. Manitoba's Independent Investigation Unit has concluded no charges should be laid against police officers involved in the shooting. (Instagram)
An investigation has concluded that police were justified in fatally shooting Mark Dicesare in November 2015 and that no charges should be laid against any officer.

"After a fulsome review of the entire investigative file … it is clear that the affected person was intent on taking his own life," Zane Tessler, director of Manitoba's Independent Investigation Unit, told reporters Thursday in downtown Winnipeg.​

Dicesare, 24, died of gunshot wounds after a wild chase and standoff with police at Grant Avenue and Kenaston Boulevard on Nov. 6, 2015.​​

Dicesare's bullet-riddled vehicle was seen in the middle of a field across from the decommissioned Kapyong Barracks, where the standoff took place. He was hospitalized and later died.

No officers were injured, Winnipeg police Const. Jason Michalyshen told CBC News at the time.
The vehicle Dicesare was driving was left with several bullet holes in the doors and windows after the 2015 standoff with police. (CBC)

Manitoba's Independent Investigation Unit, which probes all serious incidents involving the police, reviewed the incident and released its findings Thursday morning.

Nineteen police vehicles and members of the tactical unit surrounded Dicesare's vehicle in the field after a chase that spanned "at least 22 kilometres," Tessler said. 

Nearly 40 officers and 96 civilian witnesses were interviewed as part of the review, which found Dicesare was asked "at least 33 times" by a police 911 operator and officers on the scene to drop his weapon and surrender. 

'You guys do it for me'

The weapon turned out to be an unloaded "air gun, a BB gun" that resembled an Uzi submachine gun, Tessler said.
An IIU report into the fatal shooting of Mark Dicesare included an analysis of the contents of his cellphone, including two video clips filmed during his interaction with police. From the report: "In the first video clip, [he] is seen driving a vehicle and holding what appears to be a black Uzi submachine gun in his hand. He states on the video 'Hey guys, I just want to let you guys know before I go, I um, I had a good life OK? I had fun, I uh ... I’m so sorry guys ... Well guys' ... [he] is very emotional during this clip, ranging from sobbing to whistling. (Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba)

Communication between the officers and Dicesare, captured on an open line to the 911 operator, revealed Dicesare wanted to end his life by having police shoot him, the report states.

Dicesare stepped out of his vehicle twice, in each case turning the BB gun barrel toward his own chin, Tessler said.

The second time, he lowered the gun and aimed it at officers while saying "I'm going to have you guys do it for me, I'm so sorry," moments before officers opened fire, Tessler said.

"This matter is indeed a tragedy. A young life was lost, a family and close friends have been left to grieve and the involved officers will inevitably relive this event time and time again," Tessler said.
A photo of the firearm located and seized at Lipsett. (IIU)

Dicesare was hit nine times with bullets from carbines, handguns and a shotgun. Fifteen shells were located around the scene, Tessler said.

Winnipeg police say air guns are the No. 1 kind of "firearm" used in the commission of crimes in Winnipeg — more than double the next most popular kind of firearm, rifles. 

"This is an unfortunate yet all too familiar situation that is seen across Canada and the United States," Tessler said.

No ill will

An autopsy revealed Dicesare had cocaine, THC (found in marijuana) and diazepam in his system, the latter drug often clinically used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms or alcohol withdrawal.

Different tests also showed he had a blood alcohol level between .075 and 0.146, Tessler said.
Zane Tessler, civilian director of the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, said Mark Dicesare's family holds no ill will toward the Winnipeg police and tactical unit members who were involved in the shooting. (CBC)

He also said Dicesare's family holds no ill will toward the Winnipeg police and tactical unit members who were there that day.

"They understand what happened they hold no grudges or blame on the police for what had transpired," Tessler said. "They should be allowed time to grieve."

Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth acknowledged the challenging situation officers were in the day of the police shooting and the impact it had on the community.

"No member of the Winnipeg Police Service wants to be confronted with such a violent situation, and no member would ever take lightly the burden of having to take another life," Smyth said in a statement. "I appreciate the job done by our officers to limit further injury."
An aerial photo of the scene, with markings from the IIU: Yellow represents witnessing officers, red represents officers who fired their guns, and the X is Dicesare. (IIU)

Winnipeg Police Association president Moe Sabourin said he is thankful the investigation has come to a close.

"We're happy that the decision that has come down, but unfortunately there has been a loss of life," Sabourin said. "Any time that happens it is a very tragic situation, and we feel for the family and for the members that were involved."

An inquest has been called under Manitoba's Fatalities Inquiry Act.

The IIU first formed in June of 2015. The case involving Dicesare is the IIU's largest investigation to date.IIU investigation into shooting on Kenaston BoulevardMobile users: View the document
IIU investigation into shooting on Kenaston Boulevard (PDF KB)
IIU investigation into shooting on Kenaston Boulevard (Text KB)
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With files from Leif Larsen and Courtney Rutherford