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Kirkland Lake police cleared in incident in which machete-wielding suspect was killed

Ontario Provincial Police in Kirkland Lake responded to a call at 7:30 a.m. about a shirtless male carrying a machete in the area of École Secondaire Catholique on Duncan Avenue. (SIU photo) Ontario Provincial Police in Kirkland Lake responded to a call at 7:30 a.m. about a shirtless male carrying a machete in the area of École Secondaire Catholique on Duncan Avenue. (SIU photo)

A Kirkland Lake police officer who shot and killed a shirtless man who came at him with a machete acted in self-defence, an investigation into the incident has concluded.

The man was killed May 9 of this year in a school parking lot, according to the incident narrative from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates when someone is injured during interactions with police in Ontario.

In his report, SIU director Joseph Martino said police responded to a call at 7:30 a.m. about a shirtless male carrying a machete in the area of École Secondaire Catholique on Duncan Avenue.

“Officers encountered the male in the school parking lot,” Martino said in his report.

“The male would not comply with officer demands to drop the knife. He was uttering incoherent remarks and approached the officers.”

At that point, police deployed a Taser, which worked at first, but when a probe lost contact, the man again came at police with the machete.

The suspect “would not comply with demands to drop the weapon,” the report said.

“The officer shot the male with his pistol. The male was transported to Blanche River Hospital in Kirkland Lake where he was pronounced deceased at 8:09 a.m.”

Video evidence reviewed as part of the investigation showed the man walking along Duncan Avenue South, carrying the 16-inch machete, wearing red boxer shorts and no shirt or shoes.

A photo of the 16-inch machete blade. It broke off from the handle when police fired two shots. (SIU photo)

He sat down on a curb near the school around 7:20 a.m. About seven minutes later, he is surrounded by four Ontario Provincial Police officers.

“The complainant was of unsound mind at the time,” the report said.

“He spoke incoherently and occasionally waved the machete above his head ... The plan was to ‘Taser’ the complainant, with lethal force at the ready in case it was needed.”

The man managed to “swat” the Taser probes off of him. A second Taser was fired and put the man on his back, but he was able to knock off one of the probes. He was Tasered a third time, but it was ineffective.

At that point, the man stood up, machete in his hand, and began walking toward two police officers.

“The officers continued to direct the complainant to drop the weapon,” the report said.

“As he neared to within two to three metres of (police), the officer fired his gun twice in quick succession. One of the bullets struck the machete and broke off the blade from the handle. The other pierced the complainant’s upper right chest.”

Conducted energy weapons, commonly known as a Taser, were fired three times but failed to stop the suspect. (SIU photo)

He kept walking until taken down by police. He was taken away by ambulance and pronounced dead at 8 a.m.

In his decision, Martino said police acted reasonably considering the circumstances to deal with an impending threat.

“Withdrawal or retreat were not viable alternatives given the speed with which events unfolded and the presence of third parties in the area, including the anticipated arrival of school-goers,” his report said.

“There is no basis for proceeding with charges against the officer. The file is closed.”

Read the full report here. Top Stories

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