Ontario's police watchdog has cleared an officer who fired his gun at a suspect of wrongdoing during a shooting in May that left another officer dead.
Sgt. Eric Mueller, who was 42, died in hospital after he and two other Ontario Provincial Police officers were "ambushed" and shot at by a 39-year-old man when they responded to a call for a disturbance at a home in Bourget, Ont., on May 11.
The Special Investigations Unit says it was notified by an OPP forensic team that one of the surviving officers may have fired his gun at the man during the shooting.
Police say that officer suffered life-altering injuries while the third officer was hit in the knee by a ricocheted bullet.
Police say the officer who fired his weapon shot two or three times in the direction of the room the man was in, without hitting him, about 30 seconds after an initial barrage of gunfire from the suspect.
A Bourget resident is charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
"It is evident that the (subject officer) fired his weapon to protect himself from an assault at the hands of the (suspect)," SIU director Joseph Martino wrote in his decision.
"The officer had just been struck by multiple rounds and he had every reason to fear that his life was at risk of continuing gunfire from the (suspect) as he discharged his weapon making his way out of the home."
The SIU is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates the conduct of officers that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or discharging of a firearm at a person.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2023.
The Canadian Press