Ontario Officer Cleared in Fatal Shooting of Landlord in Tenant Dispute Tragedy

46

In a story that took an stark turn, Ontario’s regulatory agency for law enforcement, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has absolved a Hamilton police officer of any wrongdoing in a shooting incident that led to the death of a landlord who had earlier shot and killed two tenants in his property.

The tragedy unfolded on May 27 in Stoney Creek, Ontario, after a man and woman exited their dwelling around 5:40 p.m. They were gunned down in the vicinity of Jones Road and Barton Street, events provoked by an apparent quarrel with their landlord. Following an extended, tense standoff, the landlord was fatally shot by a police officer exercising the right of self-defense or protecting others enshrined under section 34 of the Criminal Code. This section allows force if it is believed, on reasonable grounds, that force is being used against oneself or others.

Follow us on Google News! ✔️


In his report, SIU Director Joseph Martino concluded that the officer’s lethal use of force complied with the legal boundaries of justified force as laid out in the policy. This determination concluded the SIU investigation into the incident, which wrapped up on a recent Monday.

Our sorrowful hearts go out to the victims, identified by Hamilton police as 27-year-old Carissa MacDonald and her 28-year-old near-husband, Aaron Stone. The property owner, identified as Terry Brekka, became a point of interest after property records were confirmed by CTV News Toronto.

This deadly incident was ignited by a disagreement over who should shoulder the cost of damage done to the property. The tenants, Carissa and Aaron, were reportedly not prepared to pay the repair costs, a detail that enraged Brekka who, armed with a gun, shot both tenants. Even after dealing the fatal shots, he apparently fired several more rounds before retreating to his home.

Responding to the calls of distress, police cordoned off the area with crisis negotiators and a team of Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers attempting to defuse the situation. As the standoff played out, Brekka asked about the status of his tenants, demanded apologies be sent to their families, and called for the removal of the ERU armoured vehicle. Instead of complying, the police moved the vehicle a little further away from the house.

Unsettlingly, Brekka foreshadowed his own demise amidst apologies for his actions, expressing knowledge that he might not survive the standoff and hinting at a potential clash with authorities. Police also found out about his collection of handguns and rifles, including potentially unregistered ones. At approximately 10:10 p.m., Brekka began firing multiple rounds toward the police armoured vehicle from inside his house, a dangerous action he repeated about 20 minutes later. This time, however, he was met with a single retaliatory shot from an officer. This was enough to end the bout of gunfire, leaving Brekka with mortal wounds.

ERU officers then broke through the front door with a robot entering first to ensure safety. The robot found two rifles in the house foyer before discovering an unresponsive Brekka in the garage. An examination of the scene yielded cartridges, projectile fragments, and the firearms involved, some of which were illegal.

Heartbreakingly, by the time officers breached the garage and found Brekka, it was too late. He had succumbed to his injuries on the scene, shortly before midnight. Autopsy reports pointed to a gunshot wound to the torso as the ultimate cause of death.

Director Martino found the Hamilton officer’s actions to be in accordance with section 34 of the Criminal Code. This code allows for usually criminal conduct to be legally justified if it’s undertaken to prevent an imminent or potential attack and if the conduct is considered reasonable. In effect, law officers are duty-bound to protect and preserve life.

With the property owner actively firing through his front door with both officers and civilians caught in his line of fire, there’s little doubt the officer responded to save himself, his colleagues, and the general public from threat. The director added that given the gravity of events, engaging in lethal force was not only the officer’s only reasonable chance to end the gunfire but also proportionate to the threat.

Even as we as a community try to come to terms with this tragic incident, it is crucial to also look forward towards healing and finding comfort. One therapeutic activity that can offer a dose of relief is indulging in fun and safe online games and leisure activity. Many Canadians find joy in on their journey of healing with Canada’s popular online casinos. We have curated the top online casinos for this month, providing a safe space for relaxation and entertainment.