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UPDATE: No charges laid against Summerside police officers involved in fatal shooting

Jeremy Stephens, 32, died Sunday after being shot and injured by police.
Jeremy Stephens, 32, died Sunday after being shot and injured by police. - Contributed

Jeremy Stephens was shot and later died on May 27, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: Changes have been made to this story clarifying some information in the original story.

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - There will be no charges laid against the Summerside Police Services officers who shot and killed Jeremy Stephens.

The Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) has concluded its investigation into the death of the 32-year-old Summerside man. Stephens was shot by officers on May 27, 2018, as they tried to arrest him on suspicion of his involvement in a violent robbery at a Summerside hotel the night before.

The SIRT investigation into the shooting took nearly nine months to complete. The results were released late Tuesday afternoon by the Office of the P.E.I. Police Commissioner.

The report concluded “the officer had the right to use lethal force against the suspect if it was reasonable to believe the suspect posed a risk of death or grievous bodily harm to him or others. In the circumstances, the risk was clear.”

Click here to read the report SiRT issued to media on the investigation's findings

According to the summary of the report, three officers chased Stephens into a darkened home during a scheduled power outage. They searched the home and found him in the basement.

The officers repeatedly ordered Stephens to surrender, but he broke an arm off a nearby chair and reportedly told officers to kill him.

"The suspect then moved towards the second officer with the raised wooden piece of chair in his hand. The officer ordered the suspect to drop the weapon, but he refused. The suspect repeated the words “kill me” several times as he moved closer towards the officer. Backing up, the officer almost lost his footing and fired one shot from his service weapon, hitting the suspect. Continual commands were yelled to the suspect to drop his weapon and go to the ground, but these too were ignored.  The suspect then picked up a golf club and swung it at the officer’s head, missing it by less than a foot. The officer fired two more rounds," said the report. 

"The suspect moved away from the second officer and back towards the first officer. As the suspect approached the first officer, the officer, fearing for his safety, opened fire and discharged six rounds.”

Unbeknownst to any officers at the time of the shooting was the fact that Stephens had told other people hours earlier he believed he was wanted by the police for something which could get him 10 to 15 years in jail and had stated “absolutely no way that I am going back to jail you guys, I hope you know what that means” and said that if the police tried to arrest him “I will cut one of them”.

Also contained in the report were results of an analysis of the Stephens’ blood, as contained in a toxicology report. It showed the presence of THC, amphetamine and methamphetamine. The report called Stephens’s irrational behaviour typical of someone with high concentrations of those drugs in their system.

Given the circumstances, SIRT director Felix Cacchione concluded that the officers were justified in shooting Stephens.

“In these circumstances there are no grounds to consider any charges against the officers. Their actions were justified at law,” said Cacchione.


TIMELINE

May 27, 2018 – Summerside police shot Jeremy Stephens while trying to arrest him for alleged involvement with three others in a violent break-and-enter in a hotel room the night before. Stephens died a short time later in hospital, while the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) were tasked with investigating the shooting.

May 29, 2018 – Stephens’ family members tell media he had been shot six times and questioned whether police could have used other methods during the arrest.

June 2018 – Stephen’s Mother Gilda Stephens says she has hired a lawyer and publicly calls for a coroner’s inquest.

Nov. 2018 – SiRT director Felix Cacchione said still waiting for one expert’s report before the investigation could proceed.

Jan. 8, 2019 – The final report was confirmed as submitted and a lead investigator was writing the final report for SiRT.

March 5, 2019 – SiRT releases it’s report to the public. Prior to this, the report was first sent to the offices of P.E.I. Justice Minister Jordan Brown, Summerside Police Chief David Poirier and the provincial police commissioner.

Click here to read the statement issued by Gilda Stephens after SiRT announced Summerside police would not be charged

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