Suspicious man drew machete, jumped on police vehicle before being shot: IIU report

Manitoba’s Independent Investigation Unit will not pursue charges against an RCMP officer who fatally shot a male suspect while responding to a stabbing in December of 2021.

The IIU released its decision Tuesday, noting civilian director Zane Tessler found no reasonable grounds to support any charges against the officer.

The matter is now closed.

The investigation stems from an incident on Dec. 15, 2021. RCMP responded to call at around 8:50 a.m. about a person who had been stabbed in the RM of Westbourne, about 33 kilometres northwest of Portage la Prairie, Man.

According to the IIU, officers arrived on scene on Highway 16, patrolled the area and encountered a male suspect.

A confrontation broke out that ended in the suspect being shot.

He was pronounced dead a short time later.

As the death may have resulted from the action of a police officer, the IIU launched a mandatory investigation.

The unit also requested a civilian monitor be appointed by the Manitoba Police Commission.


Investigators accessed RCMP notes, reports, audio of the 911 call and more.

The officer who fired the firearm was designated as the subject officer (SO), and nine officers were designated as witness officers.

The male who died was designated as the affected person (AP).

The IIU also interviewed six civilian witnesses, although none witnessed the shooting.

According to the IIU report, the subject officer provided investigators with a copy of their incident notes and a prepared narrative, but declined to be interviewed.

Tessler ultimately concluded the shooting happened when the officer was responding to a call about a suspicious male who may have been involved in the earlier serious stabbing of a 27-year-old man.

When the subject officer tried to arrest them, the suspicious male, who was armed with a long sword or machete, ran at the officer’s vehicle, mounted the hood, struck the windshield and threatened to kill the officer.

Tessler write this scenario repeated itself a few times, with the officer responding by accelerating and braking his vehicle in order to knock the man off and fall to the ground.

Still, the man grabbed the machete and continued challenging the officer, Tessler wrote.

“SO, who had exited his vehicle to attempt to arrest AP was now confronted with an armed and advancing AP. SO had few options available to him in response to AP’s actions. SO determined that his only course of action was to discharge his firearm at AP and eliminate the threat he posed to himself and others in the vicinity,” the report reads.

A toxicology report also indicated the man’s blood analysis revealed the presence of ‘significantly high levels of Methamphetamine and Amphetamine’ in his system, while a urine analysis also revealed cocaine, pseudoephedrine/ephedrine, oxycodone and acetone.

“It is my view that, in the full consideration of the circumstances of this incident, the use of lethal force by the subject officer was authorized and justified by law,” Tessler writes in the report.

The full report can be read on the IIU’s website. 

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