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The Globe and Mail

Call for police help ends in death of mentally ill man

Toronto police guard the area on Victoria Park Avenue yesterday after a man in his twenties was shot.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

Reyal Jensen Jardine-Douglas's family were waiting with the police they had called to help get their son into treatment for mental health issues when they heard over a two-way police radio that he'd been shot and killed by an officer.

Mr. Jardine-Douglas, 25, suffered from paranoia, according to a statement written by his family and obtained by The Globe and Mail. He boarded a southbound bus on Victoria Park Avenue Sunday afternoon and was shot during an altercation with police after the bus was pulled over.

According to the family's statement, Mr. Jardine-Douglas had not been displaying any violent tendencies at that time.

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His family are devastated with how events played out, their lawyer Glenn Stuart said.

"They were making efforts to try and help him and support him and those have seemingly gone terribly, terribly wrong because of the way they were handled by the police service," Mr. Stuart said. "They're feeling particularly distraught by it."

According to the family's statement, the two officers who responded to their call were advised of the man's mental-health issues, as was the dispatcher. The two initial officers stayed with the family at the corner of Lawrence Avenue East and Victoria Park Avenue while other units followed the bus.

According to witnesses, the bus was pulled over at a stop near Biggin Court around 3 p.m. Mr. Jardine-Douglas stepped off the bus, and was confronted by an officer. Some witnesses say the man was asked if he had any weapons and then he reached into his jacket pocket. That's reportedly when the officer shot him.

A knife on the road was marked as evidence.

Toronto Police Services will not comment on the case now that it is being investigated by the Special Investigation Unit. Monica Hudon, a spokeswoman for the SIU, said the actions of one officer are being investigated. She would not release the officer's name.

A woman visiting friends in the building behind the bus stop said she heard six to eight shots. She asked not to be named.

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"I thought it was firecrackers at first," she said. "Then I heard the sirens and thought, 'Oh my God, something is happening.'"

Officers and paramedics performed CPR on the man. Mr. Jardine-Douglas was taken by ambulance to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he was pronounced dead just after 4 p.m.

The victim's family had been trying to get help for the man for several days.

According to the statement, Mr. Jardine-Douglas saw a physician about his symptoms of mental illness on Aug. 27. The next day his family took him to a hospital, but were referred to a second hospital after being told that it did not have the resources at that time to assist the man.

"He may be another telling example of someone who the system failed," said Mr. Stuart, the family's lawyer.

The family had taken Mr. Jardine-Douglas to a second hospital on Aug. 29, but said he was unco-operative. The family called the police for help - a move that ended in his death.

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Friends of Mr. Jardine-Douglas posted comments on Twitter. "The police shot a young man with a lot of potential. To serve and protect WHO," one man wrote.

Joseph Markson, a lawyer for the officer involved in the shooting, said he could not discuss the evidence in the case as it is being investigated by the SIU.

"What I can say is that I believe that the actions of the subject officer stopped a potentially lethal threat to the lives of passengers on the bus and that he discharged his weapon in self-defence," Mr. Markson said.

A postmortem for Mr. Jardine-Douglas is scheduled for Tuesday.

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