NEWS
10/17/2011 06:10 EDT | Updated 12/17/2011 05:12 EST

Toronto Cops Cleared In Caribbean Festival Shooting

CP

There are "no reasonable grounds" to charge two Toronto police officers involved in the shooting of two people, including one man who later died, during this summer's Caribbean carnival parade, the province's police watchdog has found.

Kevin Murray, 30, was shot by police during the parade on the evening of July 30. He died of his injuries.

An innocent bystander, Megan Martin, 21, was injured when she was struck by a bullet fired by police.

The Special Investigations Unit, an arm's-length agency that probes incidents involving police in which members of the public are seriously injured or die, said Monday both of the officers involved were justified in their decision to shoot at Murray.

The trouble started when witnesses observed what appeared to be a fight between Murray, an "accomplice" and another man on Lakeshore Boulevard West that evening. When another man started recording the fight on the digital camera, Murray and his accomplice began to attack the man and witnesses reported hearing gunshots, the SIU said.

Some witnesses reported seeing Murray with a gun in his waistband and also his hand, the SIU said.

Two officers in the area heard the commotion and ordered all three men — Murray, his accomplice and the photographer —to get to the ground, the SIU said. None complied, and Murray and his friend came towards the officers.

One of the officers "repeatedly" told Murray to drop his weapon and get on the ground, but he refused and pointed his gun at the officers, the SIU found.

Both officers shot at Murray, who died of his injuries. One of the bullets missed Murray and hit Martin, who was at the parade with three friends and had nothing to do with the incident.

The injuries sustained by Martin "is a great tragedy," said SIU director Ian Scott.

"However, given the imminent threat that Mr. Murray represented, I am of the view that the subject officers' discharges were justified. Accordingly, I have no reasonable grounds to believe that the two subject officers committed a criminal offence in the discharge of their firearms leading to this firearms injury to Ms. Martin."

The SIU assigned six investigators and three forensics investigators to the incident. The agency held interviews with 28 civilian witnesses, interviewed six officers and scrutinized another officer's notebook.