The Newfoundland and Labrador police watchdog has concluded an investigation into the shooting death of Roy Freake in Grand Falls-Windsor in June 2021, and says the officer who killed him will not be criminally charged.
In a report released Thursday, Mike King, director of the provincial Serious Incident Response Team, wrote, “I do not consider there are reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed any criminal offence”.
The report doesn’t name Freake — instead, it refers to him as an “affected person” or “AP” — but the details match the circumstances of his death in 2021. The report also doesn’t name the officer, referring to him as “subject officer” or “SO”.
Freake, 37, broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house on Monchy Road, where she lived with her baby and 14-year-old son, in the early morning of June 11, 2021.
In the weeks following the shooting, Freake’s former girlfriend, Amanda Antle, told CBC News that he pressed two steak knives against her neck during the break-in. She said he had been let down by the mental health and justice system.
About 12 hours before the shooting, Freake had been detained by police for violating court orders, but was released on bail. One of his release conditions was that he had to stay out of Grand Falls-Windsor, but Antle and Freake’s father said his truck was towed away, he had no way to make the trip from central Newfoundland at his parents’ home on Fogo Island, and he had been without necessary medication for 24 hours.
RCMP have not commented on the incident and have not confirmed Freake’s identity.
According to a witness statement in the SIRT report, a witness, identified as AP’s ex-girlfriend, said she was woken up by the sound of breaking glass and the sound of someone rummaging through the kitchen utensil drawer.
The report says AP broke down the door to a bedroom, where the woman was with her boyfriend and baby. AP, the report said, had steak knives in each hand, threatened to kill them and attacked the boyfriend.
The boyfriend pushed away AP, who was rushing at his ex-girlfriend with his knives, picking up the mattress to block it. The boyfriend, who had been cut, also called 911.
When the police arrived, breaking down a door to enter the house, AP grabbed his ex-girlfriend and pulled her against him, on the floor, using her as a shield while he held the knives on either side of her. his throat. He ordered the police to back down, threatening to kill her if they didn’t.
One officer used a Taser, which did not incapacitate him, likely because the stun gun probes could not pierce AP’s layers of clothing, the report said.
“She tried to pull the trigger again but nothing happened,” read a statement from another police officer present at the scene.
“After that she heard the first shot coming from her left. Then she heard the second shot.”
The officer believed the man would stab, kill
The officer who fired the fatal shots provided SIRT with a written statement through his attorney. The statement notes that AP grabbed his ex-girlfriend screaming that he was going to kill her.
“My client 100% believed the man was about to stab and kill the woman and possibly the child,” the statement read.
The officer’s attorney said his client had no choice or time to resolve the incident any other way.
“He fired two shots from his service pistol to stop this attempted murder,” the attorney wrote.
A use of force expert interviewed as part of the investigation said AP had “the ability, intent and means to cause death or grievous bodily harm”.
“I agree [the officer]The use of lethal force was measured and appropriate,” the expert wrote.
“Eu [the officer] did not fire his gun when he did, it is likely that [the man] could have started stabbing [the woman] and/or his son and maybe [her boyfriend] thus, several times before any of the officers could intervene.”
King said the results of the forensic examination were consistent with witness statements.
In the report, the Chief Medical Examiner says the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest, with one bullet entering his right forearm and entering the chest and another bullet in the right flank.
Learn more about CBC Newfoundland and Labrador