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SIU says no charges against officers in case of man who set himself on fire in London, Ont.

A small gas can sits near the entrance of the Immigration, Refugee, and Canadian Citizenship office in the city's south-end.
A small gas can sits near the entrance of the Immigration, Refugee, and Canadian Citizenship office in the city's south-end. SIU

Ontario’s police watchdog concluded officers acted lawfully in relation to an incident last summer when a man set himself on fire in London, Ont.

According to the Special Investigations Unit, the 49-year-old man went to an Immigration, Refugee, and Canadian Citizenship office in the city’s south-end on Aug. 2 around 1 p.m. London police responded.

READ MORE: Man seriously injured after setting himself on fire outside south London government office: SIU

Security cameras showed the man carrying a gas can in his right hand and a plastic bag in his left hand as he approached the office, the unit said.

He also had something “small and black” in his left hand, believed to be a lighter.

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Just after 1:08 p.m., the unit says the man talked to staff via the intercom and told them he was going to kill himself.

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Emergency crews arrived at the scene. At 1:14 p.m., the man, who remained standing at the front door, doused himself in a liquid believed to be gasoline, the SIU said.

The SIU said officers fired BIPs or “blunt impact projectiles,” which are supposed to be less lethal than bullets, hoping to either distract or disable the man, but the man ultimately set himself on fire.

The flames were put out with water, and the man was taken to the London Health Sciences Centre with serious injuries, the unit said.

READ MORE: Ontario’s police watchdog investigating after Toronto officers strike suspect with sock gun

The unit noted the 49-year-old man was interviewed, and they obtained his medical records. Three civilian witnesses and four witness officers were also interviewed.

There are “no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers present committed a criminal offence in connection with the man’s injuries,” said Joseph Martino, director of the SIU.

“The officers had good cause to approach the complainant with great caution and from a distance while the situation permitted, [and] acted quickly to douse the flames and secure medical treatment,” he added.

There was no basis for proceeding with charges in this case, and the file has been closed.

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