No charges against police who killed GTA shooting spree suspect: SIU

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has found four officers with Hamilton and Halton police “legally justified” in shooting and killing a man who killed three individuals across the GTA in September.

The shooter, identified as Shawn Petrie, was killed during what the SIU said was likely a shootout in Hamilton Cemetery on Sept. 12. The SIU says he had attempted to kill at least eight other individuals. 

The police watchdog said in a report Tuesday it’s not clear which bullets from which police officer’s firearms wounded the 40-year-old man.

SIU Director Joseph Martino said the officers acted with legally justified force given the circumstances, highlighting the fact the suspect had attempted to harm eight other people.

“As there were no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers comported themselves other than within the limits of the criminal law when they fired at the man, there was no basis for proceeding with charges in this case,” reads the report.

The file has been closed, the SIU said.

Long criminal history

Petrie killed three people during his shooting rampage: Toronto police officer Const. Andrew Hong, 48, Shakeel Ashraf, 38, and a 28-year-old international student, Satwinder Singh.

Singh was working at an auto body shop in Milton, Ont., owned by Ashraf. Both men were shot moments apart. Hong was fatally shot about half an hour earlier at a Mississauga Tim Hortons. Two other victims were also shot over the course of the afternoon and sustained various degrees of injuries.

Toronto police officer Const. Andrew Hong, 48, was one of three people killed during a shooting rampage in the GTA in September. (Toronto Police Service)

Petrie had a long criminal history that included convictions for assault, armed robbery and other violent offences, Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said following the shooting rampage. In 2007 he was placed on a national registry as someone with a high likelihood to reoffend in connection with an incident two years earlier.

He was estranged from his family, Duraiappah added, and was briefly employed at the auto shop owned by Ashraf. 

Shooter used handgun, investigators say

Police said Petrie used a handgun in the shootings.

Investigators believe Hong — the first of the victims to be shot — was targeted because he was a uniformed police officer.

A photo of Shakeel Ashraf, 38 — smiling on the field, the sun shining on his face —taken by Junaid Butt was seen on various social media tributes after the beloved auto body shop owner and father of two was killed. (Submitted by Junaid Butt)

Hong was inside a Tim Hortons location on Argentia Road in Mississauga at the time. He was in Peel for a joint training exercise and was on his lunch break. He had gone to get coffee for his colleagues when he was ambushed by Petrie and shot at close range at around 2:15 p.m., Duraiappah said.

Police said Petrie attempted to disarm Hong before shooting him. Hong was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to investigators, Petrie had been at the coffee shop for about two hours and 15 minutes prior. He arrived in a red Toyota Corolla with licence plate CXMM 077 and parked in an adjacent lot before entering. The car was registered to Petrie, police said. Investigators believe he had been living in the vehicle. 

Petrie then stole another vehicle and shot the driver. That victim suffered “life altering” injuries, said Duraiappah.

Petrie then drove to the Milton auto shop, where at around 2:50 p.m. he shot Ashraf and two employees — Singh and a 43-year-old man. The latter was hospitalized and later released.

Afterward, Petrie made his way to Hamilton, though police said they are not sure why. At around 4:30 p.m., officers from Halton and Hamilton encountered him in a cemetery and Petrie was killed. 

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