Police watchdog clears Hamilton officer that shot dead landlord who killed tenants

Click to play video: 'Suspected landlord-tenant dispute in Hamilton, Ont. leads to double homicide, SIU investigating'
Suspected landlord-tenant dispute in Hamilton, Ont. leads to double homicide, SIU investigating
Police say a landlord-tenant dispute is believed to have led to the shooting death of two people at an east Hamilton, Ont. residence. Investigators say three people in total are dead following the incident that became a standoff late Saturday at a Jones Road home just north of Barton Street East in Stoney Creek – May 28, 2023

The province’s police watchdog has cleared an officer who shot dead a landlord who killed two tenants during a dispute at an east Hamilton, Ont. residence last May.

Director Joseph Martino with the Special Investigations Unit cited section 34 of the criminal code in his decision saying there was “reasonable grounds” for the officer to fire through the front door of a Stoney Creek home during a stand off.

Police say three people died in the incident which began late Saturday afternoon on May 27 at a Jones Road home just north of Barton Street East in Stoney Creek.

The two victims, Aaron Stone, 28, from Hamilton and Carissa MacDonald, 27, of Stoney Creek were found dead by police upon their arrival just after 5:40 p.m. responding to a shots fired call.

Homicide detectives say the pair, both residents at the address, were fleeing when shot and killed by a 57-year-old landlord who later barricaded himself in a home with several firearms.

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The standoff with police would end almost four hours later when the shooter took shots at an armoured police vehicle on his driveway and was hit by return fire.

“In the circumstances, the officer had every reason to believe that his life, and the life of third-parties, was in imminent peril and that responsive force was required to defend against loss of life or grievous bodily harm,” Martino explained.

Following the standoff, Martino would reveal officers used the armoured vehicle to break through the front door and deploy a robot in a search for the suspect.

The robot would find two firearms, return them to officers, then reenter the home to locate “an unresponsive complainant in the garage,” according to Martino.

In all three firearms would be seized along with magazines and ammunition.

Stone, 28, was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) while MacDonald worked with the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board (BHNCDSB) as an educational assistant.

Police told Global News the victim’s families were “devastated and stunned” by the incident.

MacDonald and Stone were engaged to be married, according to detectives.

Property records obtained by Global News show the shooter had purchased the Jones Road home in 2003 for $115,000 from a woman neighbours said was his mother.

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The SIU have now completed the investigation.

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