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Officer who shot man in renegade snowplow cleared by SIU

A Toronto police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting and wounding of Richard Kachkar, the man accused of killing Sergeant Ryan Russell with a snow plow last January.

Mr. Kachkar was tasered and then shot as he sat in the driver's seat of the plow, about an hour after Sgt. Russell was struck down while trying to stop the vehicle.

Early on the morning of Jan. 12, Mr. Kachkar allegedly stole a pick up truck equipped with a plow blade and drove a weaving path of destruction across the city. Shortly after 6 a.m., when Sgt. Russell was struck and killed, an emergency task force began an hour-long pursuit of the plow.

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"The whole thing had gone on for some time and he'd been in collision with a number of other vehicles, not just with Sgt. Russell, but there'd been some collisions with other vehicles as well, and then when this happened, they [officers]obviously feared that there was imminent danger," said Frank Phillips a spokesman for Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, an arm's length agency that probes police-related injuries.

Investigators concluded that after he was immobilized by the tasers, and as officers prepared to remove him from the plow, Mr. Kachkar put his foot on the accelerator, pinning another officer.

"He did make some movement to get away which then trapped another officer between the snow plow and a garbage truck and that's when the other officer discharged his pistol at Mr. Kachkar," Mr. Phillips said.

The pinned officer shouted to his colleagues that he was stuck and being crushed, according to SIU, at which point the officer under investigation fired his pistol into the plow's driver side window. Mr. Kachkar was struck in the right rear shoulder area and the left arm. He was then pulled out of the car and arrested.

Sgt. Russell, 35, left behind a wife and two-year-old son. He was the first Toronto police officer to be killed in the line of duty since 2002.

None of the allegations against Mr. Kachkar have been proven in court.

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About the Author
Education reporter

Kate Hammer started her journalism career in New York, chasing crime and breaking news for The New York Times. She came to the Globe and Mail in 2008 to do much of the same and ended up investigating allegations of animal cruelty and mismanagement at the Toronto Humane Society. More

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