3 Toronto police-related deaths to be subject of inquest
An inquest will be held into the deaths of three people who may have had mental health issues, and were shot and killed after approaching Toronto police officers with weapons.
In one of the cases, Michael Eligon, 29, was killed Feb. 3 after fleeing from Toronto East General Hospital, where he had been involuntarily admitted under the Mental Health Act.
He was dressed in a hospital gown and armed with two pairs of scissors he tried to steal at a nearby convenience store, the Special Investigations Unit said in its report on Eligon's shooting.
After the store owner confronted Eligon, he cut the store owner's left hand with the scissors, prompting the owner to call 911. Police officers in the area were notified about a suspect getting stabbed by a patient who fled the hospital.
Eligon later demanded car keys from two different women and police responded to the call about a carjacking.
When Eligon tried breaking into two homes a dozen officers drove to the area and repeatedly demanded Eligon drop the scissors in his hand. As he moved toward police, one of the officers shot him.
All three inquests are mandatory under the Coroners Act, but will be held as one inquest because of the similarities of the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
It is expected to explore police training and strategies for dealing with managing potential risk from people with mental health issues.
Toronto police confronted Jardine-Douglas on a public transit bus after they received a call about him acting irrationally, the SIU found.
When Jardine-Douglas pulled out a knife out of his bag, officers repeatedly asked him to drop it and walked backward on the bus.
Jardine-Douglas continued to approach the officer with the weapon, after which an officer shot him.
In the case of Sylvia Klibingaitis, she called 911 from her home and said she was going to commit a crime. When officers went to her house, Klibingaitis walked toward the officers with the knife in her hand in what the SIU called a threatening manner.
She did not drop the knife in response to officers' demands and when she moved closer she was shot.
No officers were charged with a criminal offence in any of the three cases.
No date has yet been set for the inquest.