The Ontario Special Investigations Unit announced Friday afternoon that no charges would be laid against the Toronto police officer who fatally shot Andrew Loku, 45, last July.
The SIU assigned three investigators and three forensic investigators and it has been determined that the officer, whose name has not been released, used "justifiable force" under the "circumstances."
Police were called to Loku's home just before midnight on July 4, 2015, after learning he'd confronted and threatened his neighbour with a hammer over consistent noise issues that were keeping him from sleeping.
The officers encountered Loku in his third-floor apartment near Eglinton Ave. W and Caledonia Rd. and demanded several times that he drop his weapon, the hammer, according to an SIU news release.
Loku approached them saying, “What you gonna do, come on, shoot me," and the one of the two officers shot him when the space between them closed from eight or nine metres, to two or three metres.
SIU Director Tony Loparco said that based on the circumstances of the call, "I have no doubt that the subject officer feared for his life and that of his partner."
Loku was shot twice and his cause of death was gunshot wounds to the left chest.
His neighbour Robin Hicks who said she witnessed the killing, told the Toronto Star in July that the entire interaction lasted only one or two minutes before Loku was shot.
Andrew Loku's older sister, Rose Mono, clings to a photo of her dead brother following his funeral outside of Ward Funeral Homes, on Weston Road. Loku, a 45-year-old father of five from South Sudan, was shot dead by police on July 5. (Photo: Melissa Renwick/Toronto Star)
When asked why the SIU's decision was published at the end of day Friday — just before the start of the weekend — spokesman Jason Gennaro said the SIU likes to issue releases to the public as soon as the decision as been made and the Attorney General, chief of police, and the deceased's family has been notified, according to the Toronto Star.
The day of the release is dictated by this process, Gennaro said.
Death sparked protests, comparisons to Sammy Yatim
Loku's killing prompted a series of protests and demands led by the Toronto chapter of activist group Black Lives Matter. The group's demands included the release of the names of officers involved in Loku's shooting, as well as video footage of the altercation and also called on the Toronto police to adopt recommendations made in a 2014 report on dealing with people in crisis.
Desmond Cole addresses the crowd gathered for the Black Lives Matter protest, which started on Gilbert Avenue, where Andrew Loku was shot dead by police. (Melissa Renwick/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Loku, an immigrant from South Sudan, had been living in an apartment building where units were leased by the Canadian Mental Health Association, to provide affordable housing for those struggling with mental health issues.
Loku had come to Canada after spending time in a refugee camp and living through 16 years of civil warfare in his home country, according to a profile by the National Post. Loku is survived by his wife and five children who are still living in South Sudan.
At the time of his death, Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito drew connections between Loku's death and the death of Edmond Yu, a mentally ill man holding a hammer who was also fatally shot by Toronto police in 1997. Many have connected Loku and the more recent case of Sammy Yatim, an 18-year-old who was shot at nine times and killed by police while brandishing a knife on a streetcar. The officer who shot Yatim, Const. James Forcillo, was found guilty of attempted murder in January.
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