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SIU finds no ‘reasonable grounds’ to charge London police officers in shooting of Justin Bourassa

Justin Bourassa was fatally shot by police at St. George Street and Mill Street in London, Ont., just before 4 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2021. Via McKenzie Blundy Funeral Home website

The Special Investigations Unit has determined officers were not at fault in the shooting death of 29-year-old Justin Bourassa in October 2021.

“Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that a London Police Service (LPS) officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the shooting,” the police watchdog said in a statement.

Bourassa, who was from Sarnia, Ont., was fatally shot after police responded to a break and enter at St. George Street and Mill Street in London, Ont., just before 4 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2021.

Bourassa, who was not involved in the break and enter, had been walking in the area of Richmond Street and Mill Street when he was stopped by a police officer searching for suspects.

The SIU said police would not know that Bourassa was not involved in the reported break and enter until after the incident.

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The SIU says a London police officer discharged his firearm at a man who was later pronounced dead in hospital. Scott Monich/Global News

One officer held Bourassa while another officer approached with handcuffs, the SIU report says.

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Officers say Bourassa broke free of the officer’s grip and attempted to flee, before the officers grabbed him and they fell to the ground.

While on the ground, police say Bourassa choked one of the officers and the other officer fired at him and shot him.

Paramedics took him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:24 a.m., the SIU said in a previous statement.

“Director Martino concluded that the evidence fell short of a reasonable conclusion that the subject official acted precipitously and without legal justification when he decided to meet a lethal threat to the other officer’s life with a resort to lethal force of his own,” the SIU statement said.

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An obituary published on the McKenzie Blundy Funeral Home website said Bourassa was a “cherished” son, brother and nephew.

Bourassa was a tennis pro and coach at the Sarnia Tennis Club, where he coached junior players to an elite level, the obituary said.

“Justin loved everyone and everyone loved him. He will be best remembered for his kindness to those less privileged, his gentleness, his humour and his joie de vivre,” the obituary noted.

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