Ottawa

3rd fatal Ottawa police shooting in 3 years

Ontario’s police watchdog has begun its investigation into the shooting death of a 30-year-old man Thursday. It's the third time someone has died after being shot by an Ottawa police officer in the last three years.

30-year-old man was pronounced dead in hospital after being shot by police Thursday

SIU investigators were at the scene well into Thursday evening. A 30-year-old man died after being shot by Ottawa police that morning. (CBC)

Ontario's police watchdog has begun its investigation into the shooting death of a 30-year-old man Thursday.

It's the third time someone has died after being shot by an Ottawa police officer in the last three years.

The man was involved in an altercation with officers outside Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre, after police were called to the area for a "suspicious incident" at 7:53 a.m., Ottawa police said. 

Audio from Broadcastify, an online service that provides access to emergency dispatch calls, indicates the man was seen walking into the mall holding a knife in his hand.

After the shooting, he was taken to the Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus trauma unit, where he was pronounced dead.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) — an independent agency that handles incidents involving police where someone is killed, injured or sexually assaulted — has taken over the investigation. 

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'Traumatic experience'

The man was armed, but the SIU didn't provide specific details about the weapon he was carrying.

Ian Scott, who served as director of the SIU from 2008 to 2013, said the agency will be treating the investigation much like any homicide inquiry, collecting video and ballistics evidence, and interviewing officers who were there. 

In any circumstance, the use of lethal force results in an outcome no one wants, he said.

"Someone has died and the family members or the loved ones of the deceased will be extremely affected," he said. "But I think a lot of police officers find the use of lethal force to also be a traumatic experience."

Alta Vista Coun. Jean Cloutier said he's spoken to some residents and the area's community association. He hadn't heard concerns about safety, and said the community is somber.

"Generally, it is not an incident that we have in the Elmvale area," he said. "It's a very sad event." 

A Taser, left, and a baseball hat, right, on the sidewalk at the Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre after a shooting involving Ottawa police and an armed 30-year-old man. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

3rd fatal police shooting in 3 years

Yesterday's shooting was the third fatal shooting by Ottawa police in the last three years. 

Raymond Alliman, 31, was shot by police in a ByWard Market parking garage in 2017 as officers were attempting to arrest him. Alliman had just shot two people, killing one and injuring the other, before his own death.  

In that case, the SIU decided there were no reasonable grounds to lay charges against the officer in question. 

The agency also launched an investigation after a 25-year-old man was shot by police after a stabbing at a Metro grocery store in Westboro in February 2018. That investigation is ongoing. 

Since January 2007, a total of five people have been killed and another five have been injured by Ottawa police using firearms, according to data collected by CBC News. 

Eight of the 10 subsequent SIU investigations have been completed. None has resulted in criminal charges against an officer. 

Looking at data from previous years, there isn't much of a trend when it comes to fatal police shootings, Scott said. 

"There's no discernable trend of the firearms deaths ... increasing in any kind of significant way over time," Scott said. "These instances in Ontario are relatively rare."

The types of cases usually handled by the SIU in Ottawa do not typically involve firearm deaths or injuries. According to the agency's data, most cases involve injuries sustained in police custody, followed closely by sexual assault allegations and vehicular injuries.

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