Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team says a Halifax Regional Police officer was justified in killing a man in Dartmouth last year.

As the Halifax Examiner reported almost a year ago, police shot and killed the man on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, after responding to a call about a man “armed with a firearm:”

“The suspect barricaded himself in a residence on Carleton Street in Dartmouth. Officers set up containment on the residence,” police said.

“While attempting to arrest the man, he confronted the officers with a weapon and an officer discharged a service weapon. The male was found deceased in the residence.”

They said a 59-year-old man is dead, and SIRT is investigating. (A relative of the deceased has contacted the Examiner to say he was 64-years-old, not 59. This article is updated to reflect the uncertainty. The relative did not relay the man’s name.)

By Monday afternoon, the police tape was down and the property owner was at the home at 31A Carleton St. boarding up the door. He didn’t want to speak with media, nor did most neighbours. Others said they didn’t know their neighbour and that he kept to himself.

In a report dated Friday, Aug. 18 and released Tuesday, director Alonzo Wright laid out the results of SIRT’s investigation.

SIRT says man refused to pay taxi driver, pointed gun

The man had been drinking at a nearby pub, Wright wrote, and took a taxi home. During the ride home, Wright wrote that the driver said he “was slurring [his] words, had a strong smell of alcohol and appeared to be intoxicated.”

“[The driver] stated the [man] was complaining about lights on [the driver]’s car dashboard,” Wright wrote. “The [man] called [the driver] names that were offensive so [the driver] pulled the vehicle over and asked the [man] to stop calling them names or exit the vehicle.”

Once the driver reached the man’s address, he refused to pay for the ride. The man went inside, and the driver got out to note the address.

The man then “went in the residence and picked up what appeared to be a shotgun and pointed it at” the driver, Wright wrote. The driver left, and called 911.

When police arrived “in full tactical gear,” they announced their presence and asked the man to come out with his hands up. The man went back into his home and emerged with a gun, Wright wrote.

The report refers to the man as “AP,” affected person, one of the officers as “WO2,” witness officer 2, and the shooting officer as “SO,” subject officer.

“The AP raised the long gun in what appeared to be a ready position to fire in the direction of the officers. WO2 yelled to the AP ‘Show us your hands’ and ‘Drop the weapon.’ The AP maintained a shooting position and did not respond to the commands,” Wright wrote.

“Fearing the AP was about to cause death or harm to the officers, the SO fired one shot that struck the AP.”

The man died of a single gunshot wound, Wright wrote.

Shotgun was unloaded, trigger lock on

Inside the man’s home, Wright wrote that an officer found an unloaded shotgun with a trigger lock near his body, and a pellet gun in the corner.

The officer “stated there was also a gun safe that was open with the key in the lock. This locker had ammunition inside.”

Wright wrote that a lab tested the gun, a 12-gauge, and it worked.

“When the AP pointed the shotgun at the officers the trigger lock was on the gun. This would not be in clear view due to lighting and distance the officers were from the AP,” Wright wrote.

The officers believed the man posed a real threat, Wright wrote, and the officer who shot the man “made the correct decision.”

“[I]t is clear that the force used in this situation, while tragic, was necessary to protect the lives of the officers and the lives of the public,” Wright wrote.

He continued:

The action taken by SO was appropriate as they and others believed their lives were in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm as a result of the AP’s actions.

We will never fully understand why the AP acted in this way and my condolences go out to the AP’s family. However, the force used by SO was necessary to protect the lives of innocent residents in a populated neighbourhood.

There is no evidence that shows that there are any grounds to consider any charges against the SO in this matter. I now consider the matter closed.

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. In an interview with The Chronicle Herald three weeks after the shooting, the man’s daughter identified him as Terry Riche, 64.