IIU clears Winnipeg police officer in suspect’s fatal shooting

Manitoba’s police watchdog says no charges should be laid against a Winnipeg police officer who shot and killed a man while responding to break-ins at a downtown apartment last winter.

The shooting happened as officers responded to reports of a man armed with a hammer breaking into suites in a Colony Street apartment block Feb. 23.

The Independent Investigations Unit says officers were speaking with affected tenants when they noticed a man matching the suspect’s description and followed him into a suite.

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Officers used their Tasers to no effect on the man, according to the police watchdog.

The IIU said the man punched one of the officers in the head before grabbing a hammer, threatening to hit the officers with it.

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That’s when one of the officers fired three shots, fatally wounding the 43-year-old man.

After a months-long investigation that included interviews with officers and seven civilian witnesses, IIU Civilian Director Zane Tessler said Wednesday no charges were warranted against the officer.

“The use of lethal force by the subject officer was justified and unavoidable,” reads a release from the IIU.

“His decision to shoot the man was necessary to prevent death or injury to himself and the other officer.”

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Tessler noted the investigation was delayed by a 260-day wait for autopsy results from an RCMP lab.

There will also be an inquest into the man’s death, as required under the Fatality Inquiry Act.

The Independent Investigations Unit of Manitoba investigates all serious incidents involving police officers in the province.

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