Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

An axe-wielding man who was shot by police while experiencing a mental health crisis last year needed medical help “more than anything,” Ontario’s police watchdog said Friday in announcing the cops would not face criminal charges in his death.

The Special Investigations Unit found that the officers were acting in self-defence when they opened fire on the 44-year-old man, shooting him 11 times outside his home in Exeter, Ont., after breaking down his door so firefighters could tackle a small kitchen fire.

The man had been “advancing” on officers while holding an axe and reportedly looking angry, director Joseph Martino said in his report on the December 2019 incident.

Story continues below advertisement

“Though I am satisfied there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against either subject officer, the complainant’s death was tragic, made more so by his mental health at the time,” he wrote.

“What he needed, more than anything, was medical attention. That, however, was not going to be possible unless immediate steps were taken to reach the complainant, who in his altered state of mind had locked himself in his home and was refusing to come out with a small fire burning in the kitchen.”

He said he “cannot fault” the officers for forcing the door open, or for shooting at the man when their attempts to zap him with a stun gun didn’t get him to drop the axe.

“By all accounts, the (man) was advancing in a determined fashion, axe in hand, when the first series of shots rang out,” he wrote. “Some of the eyewitnesses in the area described the (man’s) disposition as angry.”

Martino said most witnesses agreed the man appeared to be wielding the axe as a weapon.

The SIU said the man suffered 11 gunshot wounds to his neck, torso and limbs, including once through the heart and a lung.

Martino said the man had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, manic depression and bipolar disorder, and was having a mental health episode when police and firefighters arrived at his home – something that the woman who called 911 repeatedly flagged to dispatchers.

Story continues below advertisement

But even so, Martino said it wouldn’t have been reasonable to expect the officers to withdraw from the situation.

“There were many people in the vicinity of the home, including firefighters who had responded to the fire call, which would have given rise to a legitimate concern for their safety,” he wrote. “Nor did the officers have the luxury of time to scan the area around them to see where others were located exactly.”

The question of how police respond to mental health calls came to the fore earlier this year following the deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto, and D’Andre Campbell and Ejaz Choudry in Peel Region.

The SIU cleared Toronto police of wrongdoing in 29-year-old Korchinski-Paquet’s death, which it said happened when she was trying to move from her apartment balcony to an adjacent one while officers were in her home.

The SIU has yet to release its report into the death of the 26-year-old Campbell, but said Martino is currently reviewing the files.

Campbell was suffering from mental illness when he was shot inside his home by Peel police responding to a domestic incident call.

Story continues below advertisement

Choudry, 62, was in the middle of a mental health crisis when the family said they called the non-emergency line for help around 5 p.m. Three hours later, Peel Regional Police officers stormed Choudry’s home, fired multiple shots and killed him. The SIU is still investigating.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies