EDMONTON (CP) - Police could have considered a middle-ground tactic before breaking into the residence of an armed and angry man to make an arrest, says a fatality inquiry judge.
The observation comes from provincial court Judge David J. Tilley, who declined to make any recommendations following his inquiry into the fatal police shooting of John Peter Pavic on May 15, 2001.
"It would seem rational for police in a scene involving a person locked in a building and refusing to come out . . . to consider some sort of middle ground . . . without moving directly to the break-enter scenario," he wrote in his nine-page inquiry report released Tuesday.
Tilley suggested that police might have tried to incapacitate Pavic with tear gas before attempting to smash their way into the 31-year-old unemployed man's apartment, but noted no evidence was brought to the inquiry held last September about the soundness of such a tactic.
Pavic, who had nearly four times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, was shot four times by Const. Ken Brander after he attacked the police officer with a knife in a dark stairwell. Pavic died at the scene.
Brander had initially fired a Taser at Pavic to incapacitate him, but it didn't work.
Tilley said Brander held off Pavic's attack with a protective shield long enough to draw his weapon and fire off eight rounds in the dark. He kept firing until his pistol misfired.
"Mr. Pavic either underestimated the level of skill which the Edmonton Police Service tactical officers were prepared to employ, or he had some sort of death wish, or perhaps an unrealistic sense of his ability to threaten and physically overcome the tactical squad," Tilley wrote.
Tilley noted that Pavic had been involved in a similar incident involving Ontario Provincial Police in southwestern Ontario in 1992.
He said police were called to deal with Pavic after he caused a disturbance at his father's home. Officers found him in a chair armed with a number of knives, but he was too intoxicated to resist arrest.
OPP stated that Pavic planned to attack the police when they came to arrest him so that the officers would have to shoot him, Tilley noted in his report.
Tilley noted that on the night Pavic was shot in Edmonton, he initially called police to complain that he had been assaulted by a neighbour. However, when police arrived, he refused to give them any information.
Police received three subsequent 911 calls from neighbours complaining that Pavic was brandishing a knife and threatening to kill somebody.
"All Mr. Pavic had to do was calm down, speak to police and surrender to an arrest," Tilley noted. "That simple end was not to be."
The officer involved in the shooting has been involved in two other high-profile incidents - one involving a traffic death and the other two deaths in a drug raid.
Two days before shooting Pavic, Brander was at the wheel of a speeding unmarked police car that struck another car on a major Edmonton street. The collision sliced the small car in two and killed one young boy and maimed his brother.
Brander was found not guilty of criminal negligence or dangerous driving.
He also led a drug sweep five years ago in which two men fell to their deaths from a fourth-floor balcony after police fired stun grenades.
That's two deaths in two days.........something doesn't seem right