WATCH: Jennifer Palisoc looks into which security guards are allowed to carry a gun.
TORONTO – The security guard who shot the man attempting to rob a jewellery store in Scarborough was allowed to carry a gun as part of his job.
However, he could still be charged for shooting the suspect.
Some security guards in Canada are allowed to carry and use guns, but only if they are guarding cash or precious metals.
They also have to apply for a Possession and Acquisition License and work with a security firm approved by the Ontario government.
“It’s most common in jewellery stores. Bodyguards are not allowed to carry guns in Canada. It has to be a precious metal or a cash value,” security expert Chris Menary said in an interview.
But a security guard carrying a gun is different than a police officer. The officer is given their gun as a use-of-force option. The security guard, however, has to be protecting cash or precious metals as well as perceive an immediate threat in order to use the gun.
“A security guard, the gun is there for the protection of valuables and if there’s deemed a threat, immediately to stop that threat,” Menary said.
Arthavan Rehnu-Vasanthakumar, 26, faces several charges after allegedly attempting to rob the jewellery store including armed robbery, two counts of pointing a firearm, possession of a load restricted firearm and careless storage of a firearm.
Police allege Rehnu-Vasanthakumar parked his truck across from the jewellery store and put on a mask and gloves. He walked into the jewellery store and threatened two employees, allegedly pointing the gun at their head and demanding jewellery.
An armed security guard saw the attempted robbery taking place and “discharged his firearm at him several times,” according to police.
The man was injured, dropped his gun and ran to his car where he was arrested by police.
Russell Oliver, the well-known jewellery store owner, has been in business for 45 years and at his current location on Eglinton Avenue for the past two decades. He was victimized once in a daylight robbery in 1984 at his store on Cumberland Avenue in Yorkville.
He said it was a busy Saturday around 10 a.m. when two men stormed in with guns, smashed the glass covering the jewellery and stole handfuls of the expensive items.
“I chased them and I caught one of them, and we started struggling, the gun went off and a bullet went through my foot which impeded my then chasing them,” he said during an interview Friday.
But despite that incident, he doesn’t employ a security guard who carries a firearm. He doesn’t like guns to begin with, but said he exercises extra caution because he knows they can be charged if they shoot someone.
And what’s more, he thinks the mere presence of a gun could motivate would-be thieves to arm themselves.
“I prefer not to have one. I prefer my security guard not to have one. If somebody comes with a gun, then well what are you going to do, we’ll cope with that situation as it unfolds,” he said.
– With files from Carey Marsden