An officer who shot and killed a man who stabbed him in the neck has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Special Investigations Unit.
In a July 24 news release, it was announced that the SIU’s director, Ian Scott had found no reasonable grounds to charge the officer, identified as Const. Jeff Blair, after conducting an investigation. Blair shot 38-year-old Peter Lumanglas on April 15 in North York during a violent struggle. Lumanglas died five days later.
The release gave a detailed account of the events that took place that night.
According to the SIU, which conducts an investigation whenever police are involved in incidents where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault, Blair was using his radar gun on Allen Road north of Lawrence Avenue W. on the night of April 15, when he clocked a motorist in a black Caravan travelling 146 km/h in the 80 km/h zone. Blair followed the vehicle onto the 401, then north onto Avenue Road, before stopping his pursuit when he witnessed the vehicle run two stop signs on Bombay Avenue.
Blair continued searching for the vehicle, and found Lumanglas walking quickly on Northmount Avenue, near Bathurst and Wilson. Blair felt Lumanglas was not dressed appropriately for the weather, as he was wearing just shorts and a basketball jersey. Blair spoke to Lumanglas, and noticed he was sweating and appeared agitated, while not responding to questions about his driving.
From this, Blair determined Lumanglas was driving the Caravan, and arrested him, saying he would be charged with dangerous driving and failing to stop for police.
SIU director Ian Scott said this is a legitimate reason to arrest Lumanglas.
“While (Blair) did not see Mr. Lumanglas exit the Caravan, he saw him in close proximity both in time and location to his last sighting of the pursued vehicle,” he said in the news release. “When one adds Mr. Lumanglas’ demeanour and lack of responsive answers, I am of the view that the subject officer had articulable grounds to believe that Mr. Lumanglas was the individual recently driving in a dangerous manner.”
Lumanglas was initially cooperative during his arrest, placing his hands behind his back. Blair patted down Lumanglas, finding a closed pocket knife in the right pocket of his shorts. Blair put the knife on the trunk of the police cruiser. In Lumanglas’ left pocket, Blair found drug paraphernalia and what he believed were drugs.
Blair informed Lumanglas he would also be charged with possession of contraband drugs.
Then the situation took a turn for the worse.
Lumanglas then lunged forward, grabbing the knife and opening it. He then stabbed Blair in the arm twice and once in the neck.
Blair took a few steps back, pulled out his gun and warned, “Police, don’t move.”
Lumanglas continued toward Blair, with his knife raised above his head.
Blair then fired his gun at least three times at Lumanglas’ torso, causing him to fall to the ground.
Lumanglas attempted to get up. Without being able to see where the knife was, and feeling weaker while bleeding profusely, Blair fired two more rounds at Lumanglas, causing him to fall back down.
Both Blair and Lumanglas were rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital. Lumanglas died on April 20, as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.
Based on the series of events, Scott said he believes Blair acted reasonably and should not be charged with a criminal offence.
“For reasons that will never be answered, Mr. Lumanglas took great exception to the arrest for drugs, broke away from the subject officer, grabbed the pocket knife from the trunk of the police cruiser, opened the blade and made a concerted effort to kill the officer,” Scott said. “Under s. 34 of the Criminal Code the subject officer had the authority to use lethal force to repel Mr. Lumanglas because he had a reasonable belief that he was in imminent danger of dying; he had already been stabbed in the neck area, and Mr. Lumanglas was coming toward him after ignoring the police challenge.
“With respect to the latter two discharges, I am of the view that those too were justified,” Scott added. “Mr. Lumanglas was attempting to get off the ground at a time when the subject officer had lost a significant amount of blood, could assume the assailant was still armed with the knife, and was in no condition to retreat.”
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