Officer ‘justified’ to shoot suspect with less-lethal launcher in Oakville


Published November 15, 2023 at 6:54 pm

The Halton Regional Police officer who shot a suspect with a less-lethal ARWEN round in Oakville was “legally justified” to do so, according to the Special Investigations Unit.

Halton cops were on the lookout for a suspect behind several carjackings in the city on the afternoon of July 18. The suspect was armed with a handgun according to witness reports. Shortly before 3 p.m. dispatchers received a 911 call reporting a car crash near Trafalgar Rd. and Ceremonial Dr.

Responding officers spotted a man running from the crash site toward a home near Trafalgar Rd. and McCraney Dr. Police dispatched Tactical Response Unit officers to the home’s backyard, including a police service dog.

When the officers entered the yard, the dog immediately zeroed in on the suspect who was hiding underneath the deck. The dog rushed under the deck and latched onto the suspect’s right arm. The suspect dragged himself, and the still-attached dog, out from under the deck.

He tried to shake the dog off him but the officers ordered him the the ground. The man continued standing, trying to loosen the dog’s grip. At this point, one of the TRU officers shot the suspect with two rounds from his ARWEN launcher.

A standard ARWEN round.

The rounds struck the suspect in the back and knocked him to the ground. The officers then arrested the man and took him to local hospital. He was treated for several puncture wounds from the dog bite.

The SIU was soon brought in to investigate. The unit is brought in anytime an officer fires a weapon at a suspect or someone is hurt when dealing with police. Ultimately they concluded the officer who fired the ARWEN was justified to use it.

“The officers had information that led them to believe the [suspect] had been involved in carjackings earlier that date, had brandished a firearm in the course of those robberies, was subject to a firearms prohibition at the time, and had fled the scene of a motor vehicle collision to seek a place of concealment from police apprehension,” wrote Director Joseph Martino.

Furthermore, “The [suspect] had refused to peacefully surrender and was making his way towards the exit gate of the backyard fence when he was struck and felled by the rounds,” Martino continued, “it made sense in the circumstances to attempt to halt his progress from a safe distance with the use of the ARWEN.”

“If it worked as designed, the [suspect] would be temporarily incapacitated, allowing for the officers’ safe approach to take him into custody, without the infliction of serious injury. That is, in fact, what happened.”

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