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Michael Eligon, 29, was killed on Feb. 3 after fleeing from Toronto East General Hospital, where he had been involuntarily admitted under the Mental Health Act. (Tim Fraser for The Globe and Mail)
Michael Eligon, 29, was killed on Feb. 3 after fleeing from Toronto East General Hospital, where he had been involuntarily admitted under the Mental Health Act. (Tim Fraser for The Globe and Mail)

Police shootings, mental health to come into focus at Toronto inquest Add to ...

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 on Feb. 3 after fleeing from Toronto East General Hospital, where he had been involuntarily admitted under the Mental Health Act.

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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 Mr. Eligon’s shooting.

The store owner was cut on the left hand after confronting Mr. Eligon, and called 911. Police officers in the area were notified about a suspected stabbing by a patient who fled the hospital.

Mr. Eligon later demanded car keys from two women and police responded to the call about a carjacking.

When Mr. Eligon tried breaking into two homes, a dozen officers drove to the area and repeatedly ordered him to drop the scissors. As he moved toward police, one of the officers shot him.

The inquest, announced on Tuesday, will examine the deaths of Mr. Eligon, Reyal Jardine-Douglas, 25, who died on Aug. 29, 2010 and Sylvia Klibingaitis, 52, who died on Oct. 7, 2011.

Inquests in all three cases are mandatory under the Coroners Act, but will be held jointly because of the similar circumstances.

The inquest is expected to explore police training and strategies for dealing with managing potential risk from people with mental health issues.

Toronto police confronted Mr. Jardine-Douglas on a public transit bus after they received a call about him acting irrationally, the SIU found.

When Mr. Jardine-Douglas pulled a knife from his bag, officers repeatedly asked him to drop it and walk backward on the bus. Mr. Jardine-Douglas continued to approach with the weapon, after which an officer shot him.

Ms. Klibingaitis called 911 from her home and said she was going to commit a crime. When officers went to her house, she walked toward them 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 cases.

No date has yet been set for the inquest.

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