Police officer who fatally shot man behind Shoppers World plaza in May cleared of any wrongdoing by Special Investigations Unit

Police officers are seen at the south end of the Shoppers World plaza , at Victoria Park and Danforth avenues, on the afternoon of May 10 after a fatal shooting. Photo by Alan Shackleton.

A Toronto police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in connection with a shooting that took the life of a 40-year-old man behind the Shoppers World plaza at Danforth and Victoria Park avenues on the afternoon of May 10.

“The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, found no reasonable grounds to believe a Toronto Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the shooting death of a 40-year-old man.  On May 10, 2023, the man approached the officer with a knife and ignored commands to drop the weapon. The officer shot the man twice and he died in hospital,” said a statement from the SIU released on Sept. 7.

An independent government agency, the SIU investigates incidents involving death, injury or sexual assault involving Ontario police officers.

The shooting took place at 12:08 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10.

The man was then taken to hospital by emergency run but died of his injuries.

According to CBC News, the shooting victim’s family identified him as Andrew Geisler, and said that he had been suffering from depression, anxiety and a struggle with alcoholism.

His family told CBC News that his death needs to be part ” a broader conversation around the police’s response to mental health and distress calls.”

In its investigation report, the SIU did not identify the shooting victim by name but said he appeared to be of “unsound mind” when the police officer approached him.

Police had been called to the plaza earlier about a man who appeared to be in crisis.

The SIU said the shooting victim ran towards the police officer who fired the fatal shots. The police officer told the man to drop the knife, the SIU said, but the man continued to run towards the police officer who then discharged his weapon.

“The Complainant (shooting victim) had spent the last half-hour or so in the area of the trailer (parked behind the plaza), pacing and drinking wine. He had also self-inflicted cuts to his arms. As the SO (police officer) approached, the Complainant stepped out from behind the trailer and confronted the officer with a knife held in his right hand,” said the SIU report.

“The SO drew his firearm and began directing the Complainant to drop the knife. The Complainant did not do so and continued to walk in a southeasterly direction towards a retreating SO, the knife held at shoulder level. This persisted for about eight seconds, after which the Complainant quickened his pace forward and then started to jog towards the officer. As he neared to within six metres of the officer, the SO fired twice in quick succession. The time was 12:08 p.m.”

The cause of death for the shooting victim was “gunshot wounds” to the abdomen, said the SIU report.

“The SO, though he did not provide an interview to the SIU, acted to defend himself from a knife attack when he shot the Complainant,” said the SIU Director’s report. “The weapon the Complainant was wielding was capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm and death, and the Complainant seemed intent on using it against the SO and had neared to within striking distance of the officer at the time of the shooting.”

To see the full SIU investigation report on this shooting, please go to

https://siu.on.ca/en/directors_report_details.php?drid=2569


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