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Tri-County Vanguard - 2021-11-24

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No charges resulting after self-inflicted death during search warrant incident

PREMIER CROSSWORD PUZZLE

TINA COMEAU TRI-COUNTY VANGUARD tina.comeau@saltwire.com

The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) says there will be no charges stemming from an incident in Yarmouth during which a man died while a search warrant was being executed. As officers announced their presence and began searching the residence, a gunshot was heard. “An officer moved toward the sound and found the male in a small bathroom on the main level of the home suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” states SiRT. It was confirmed through an autopsy that the man died by suicide. On Nov. 19, SiRT released a report regarding its investigation into the man's death. “According to SiRT, in June 2021, members of the Yarmouth/Clare RCMP Street Crime Enforcement Unit began an investigation into the affected party's (AP) drug related activity,” reads a media release. “Based on the information gathered, a search warrant was obtained, and officers made a no-knock hard entry of the AP's residence just after 7 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2021.” After hearing a gunshot and finding the man in the bathroom, an officer administered first aid until paramedics arrived. Paramedics pronounced the man deceased. The report says that to be designated as a subject officer in a SiRT investigation, a police officer must have had some contact or interaction with the affected party. “No subject officers were identified in this investigation as none of the officers present had contact or interaction with the AP before the fatal shot was fired,” SiRT determined. A complete copy of the report is available at http://sirt. novascotia.ca. The report states that eight officers were involved in the execution of the search warrant. It states there was a “known presence” of firearms at the residence. Six officers entered the twostorey residence, while two remained outside guarding the front and rear exits. The report states that three of the officers proceeded to the upper level to begin a search of that area, while three began searching the various rooms on the main level. “The officers yelled "Police" "Search Warrant" and "Get down on the floor" as they entered, and again as they proceeded through the residence,” the report states. It was stated that one of the officers searching a room on the main level noticed an empty hammock swinging. “Resting on a hanging chair next to the hammock was a loaded .22 calibre assault style rifle with its safety in the off position,” reads the report. “Cocaine, money and an array of knives and swords were also in that room.” The report says there was also a closed sliding door in the room. The report says the officer heard a pop from the other side of the sliding door and attempted to open it, but was only able to slide it open a short distance before it jammed. More force was used to open the door, which lead into a very small bathroom. A man was found partially seated on the toilet set. The report states that a .22 calibre assault style rifle with an empty .22 calibre shell casing were laying at the man's feet. The officer pulled the man into the adjoining room and administered first aid until the paramedics arrived. The man is described in the report as being ‘lifeless' as this was happening. The officer performed chest compressions until the arrival of paramedics, who pronounced the man deceased. “A member of the Medical Examiner's Office examined the body at the scene but was unable to find an entry or exit wound,” the report reads. “An autopsy conducted by the Medical Examiner the following day determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the head.” A .22 calibre bullet was recovered from the man's skull and the manner of death was identified as a suicide. SiRT says all officers at the scene were armed with 9 mm pistols, which is the standard calibre pistol carried by all police officers in Nova Scotia. The autopsy findings and results confirmed that the man died as a result of a selfinflicted gunshot wound and not at the hands of the police, the report states. SiRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of the independent civilian director Felix Cacchione, who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge. In this instance, the following evidence was obtained, reviewed and considered in the preparation of SiRT's report: a statement from the man's parents; audio/video statements of seven witness officers present at the scene; reports and notes of one witness officer; reports and notes of two officers who were not at the scene but were aware of the information used to obtain the search warrant; the search warrant; photographs of the scene, Halifax Regional Police (HRP) Forensic Identification Service (FIS) reports; autopsy photographs and the Medical Examiner's Certificate noting the cause and the manner of death.

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