SIU clears LPS officer in shooting death of London man last October
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has issued its determination in connection to the shooting death of tennis coach Justin Bourassa last October.
In his determination, SIU Director Joseph Martino found “no reasonable grounds" to believe that a London Police Service (LPS) officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the shooting death of 29-year-old Justin Bourassa last October,” according to a press release issued Monday.
According to the SIU, in the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 2021, Bourassa was walking in the area of Richmond Street and Mill Street in London when he was stopped by two officers who were searching for suspects wanted for a break and enter that was reported nearby.
Unbeknownst to the police officers at the time, Bourassa was not involved with the break and enter.
The SIU said one officer held Bourassa while another approached him with handcuffs. Bourassa then broke free from of the officer’s grip and attempted to flee, but the officers grabbed him and they fell to the ground.
While on the ground, Bourassa choked one of the officers and the other officer fired his weapon, striking Bourassa.
Bourassa was taken to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
CTV News London reported last October that Bourassa, who hailed from Lambton County, was described as “someone everybody loved.”
In an obituary posted to the website of the McKenzie Blundy funeral home, Bourassa was remembered for his athletic ability and kindness.
“Justin loved everyone and everyone loved him. He will be best remembered for his kindness to those less privileged, his gentleness, his humour and his joie de vivre,” read the obituary.
In his determination, “Director Martino concluded that the evidence fell short of a reasonable conclusion that the subject official acted precipitously and without legal justification when he decided to meet a lethal threat to the other officer’s life with a resort to lethal force of his own,” according to the release.
In a statement to CTV News, London police said: “In accordance with our obligations under the Police Services Act, an internal review will be conducted into the incident. Upon completion of that review, the findings will be reported to the London Police Services Board. We are unable to speak to this matter while the review is underway.”
The SIU is an independent authority responsible for investigating the conduct of officials, such as police, that resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault, or the discharge of a weapon at another person.
The case is now closed.
— With files from Justin Zadorsky