Questions raised over Toronto police shooting in downtown subway station


TORONTO – All of the facts have yet to emerge in a police shooting at a Toronto subway station, but the incident has renewed debate over how officers in Canada’s largest city use force.

A few dozen of protesters turned out Sunday night for a rally outside the downtown subway station where an 18-year-old was shot Friday night and sent to hospital.

One of the protesters, Sakura Saunders, says frontline officers are too quick to shoot in confrontations and that only senior officers should have guns.

Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigation Unit, believes four of the nine officers at the scene fired their weapons.

Media reports say witnesses saw a man on a subway train holding what appeared to be a gun before police arrived.

The SIU confirms it has recovered a weapon, but hasn’t confirmed what type.

One transit rider, Jessica Wong, says she was on the train when police approached a man and told him to put his hands where they could see them, with the man yelling back “I don’t have anything to live for any ways.”

Wong said in an email officers had their guns pointed at the man when she and others started getting off the train, and that not long after she heard a number of shots.

“That is when everyone started running up the staircase and escalators. People who were coming down were going back up, people were even running up (the) down escalators,” she wrote in an email.

The SIU, which is automatically called to investigate cases where someone is killed or suffers serious injury when police are involved, hasn’t said whether the teenager is still in hospital but says he is expected to survive.

Saunders said in her view police went for their guns too quickly in the confrontation.

“It seems from the witness accounts that the police did not take time to assess the situation before firing an excessive amount of bullets,” she said.

There has already been considerable debate over how Toronto police use lethal force.

In July there were noisy protests after 18-year-old Sammy Yatim was shot on an empty streetcar — an incident that was caught on video.

An officer faces a charge of second degree murder in connection with the case, which is awaiting a hearing to be held next year to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Toronto police have also launched a review of use-of-force policies and an ongoing coroner’s inquest is looking into the deaths of three Toronto-area residents who were gunned down by police at different times over the past three years.

Filed under:

Questions raised over Toronto police shooting in downtown subway station

  1. When lives are at stake, action must be swift. Didn’t know the protesters finished their investigation before the SIU. Let’s wait with judging until the authorities complete their work and all facts are known. Setting fires during their protest is not constructive or productive.

    • Funny that I can’t remember the last time the police put their lives on the line like they always claim they do. Shoot first ask questions later.

      • shows how little you know. Anytime they deal with folks breaking the law and when they assist the general public they expose themselves to danger. I hear fish is good for memory, I doubt you’ll be verifying facts anyway…

        • LOL sure sure they do. Actually fire fighters put their lives on the line more so than any cop in this country. You may want to take that fish and slap yourself silly with it.

          • It’s called teamwork and collaboration between emergency services personnel to keep all of us safe. You must have forgotten.

          • You forgot the big humping bill from the fire dept and ambulance service that they send you after the fact.

        • Don’t pay much attention to Sheila. She’s had a lady-boner for all cops ever since her little Johnny got into trouble with the law, and of course we all know that little Johnny can do no wrong………

        • You got it. Anytime, not everytime. Doesn’t seem to be any alternative to pointing guns though. It’s harmful to the police too to be shooting.

    • A decision to use lethal force must be based on an assessment of the threat and the risk to the officers, bystanders and the subject himself. You are criticizing protesters for reacting quickly, but basically suggesting that police should act in haste, when that isn’t what their own guidelines say.

  2. The guy was waving a gun around on a subway packed with hundreds of people. What did you expect the police to do give him a hug?

    • Was it the training by Blackwater (remember Falujah?) that makes these officers ALWAYS shoot to kill?

      • Right, their training should be by watching cartoons and you tube videos like the rest of the experts here, hm?

        • It’s called teamwork and collaboration between all emergency services personnel to keep all of us safe. You must have forgotten.

          • Sorry I don’t rely on cops to keep me safe, must be the city mentality you’ve all come to know and love.

          • Yes, just say no…

          • ♫ Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
            A tale of a crazy lass
            That started from this trailer park,
            That many chose to pass.

            The mate was a mighty naive man, his skipper raised by apes,
            His home would never be the same
            Once foil replaced the drapes.

            The Po-lice started getting rough,
            The baddest boy was tossed
            But due to the depth of mom’s tinfoil hat
            The message just got lost, the message just got lost.

            The clan set ground on the edge of town
            In this abysmal park,
            With Hubbyman,
            The Sheila too,
            The po-lice chief and his wife,
            The pedophile
            The transgressor and his sibling clan,
            Here on Shenanigan’s Isle. ♫

  3. What a flipping joke…a bunch of people get some second hand accounts about what may have happened and they figure not only are they experts on use of force but they know what happened…all of which ignores even if we’re talking about 4 or 5 inappropriate use of force instances with guns over the last few years we’re talking about an infinitesimally small number of cases relative to police interaction with violent and/or mentally ill sorts…anywho another case of suicide by cop… hopefully these attention seekers don’t get anymore attention from the media

    • No this is the type of story that needs more media attention. All four officers fired shots…I’m sure he had it coming eh?

      • Luckily he wasn’t successful hurting anyone. If he had, would you say his victims had it coming? Facts are so overrated….

        • Nice brown nose.

      • Warning shots to the torso. Then tase ’em.

  4. All four officers shot to kill. I know the RCMP are trained by Blackwater aka Xe aka Academi but are the Toronto police also trained by these bunch of thugs too?

    • No, each officer was aiming for one limb only just as the cartoons you watch recommend. we are lucky there were no injuries to the survivors of this guy’s terrorism. Once again, the police did their thankless job. Thank you for keeping us safe.

      • When the media learns that the perp was holding a fake gun and no one was ever in any danger are you still going to be able to make that claim?

        • I know, it is surprising that the media is actually waiting for the facts, I am just as surprised as you. And, in cases like this, it is the intent and perception that matters. The folks who were traumatized by this accident, tell them the gun was fake – it won’t make much of a difference, they believed to be real. And clearly the consequences are just real.

          • Who was traumatized?

          • Yes, let’s not muddy up this conversation with the facts. Just Say No. It was a pleasure discussing this with you.

          • You seem to be a police apologist so please tell us who exactly was traumatized?

          • Apologist? I’m just waiting for the facts.

          • At the end of the day if a weapon is involved I expect my police to at them selves… We focus on what police do in the final moments of a persons life but what about the lead up. How is it that a person can be apprehended by police under the mental health act and be released by the hospitals only hours later… For example the mesic shooting in hamilton that man checked himself out of hospital only to attempt suicide twice before arming himself with a shovel… Like all jobs there are bad cops and good cops… But when someone threatens their life I do expect those officers to defend themselves… Time for talking is over when someone arms themselves and decides to confront you with something that can take your life.

    • Four officers, each with a weapon that can hold 15 rounds…..opened fire on this guy and he’s still alive in the hospital.
      If anything, I’d say take their guns away from them until they learn to shoot straight.

      • NYPD trained?

  5. Briefs shot nineteen child five people…

Sign in to comment.