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Police cleared by SIU in Hamilton Cemetery shootout

Sean Petrie killed three people before being shot by police

The Special Investigations Unit has cleared Hamilton and Halton police officers of wrongdoing in the September shootout in Hamilton Cemetery that ended a murderous rampage by 40-year-old Sean Petrie, a career criminal with a 20-year history of offenses. The SIU narrative adds chilling  details to what was already published about the September events that ended with Petrie shot dead in  a hail of bullets in Hamilton Cemetery on York Boulevard.

Const. Andrew Hong

The sequence of events began in a Mississauga Tim Horton when a uniformed Toronto Police Constable, Andrew Hong, on a training exercise, entered the coffee shop. Lying in wait was Petrie armed with a 45 calibre pistol. Petrie walked into the restaurant behind Const. Hong and shot him in the head. He shot the officer again in an  unsuccessful attempt to grab the police handgun, and then fled the premises. Hong died of his wounds. The report does not indicate why Petrie selected Hong as a victim.

The gunman then carjacked a Jeep Cherokee, pulling the driver out of the car while shooting him in the abdomen. The driver would survive.

Petrie then made his way to an auto repair shop in Milton, where he had once worked. He went up to the owner of the garage, with whom he had some type of grievance and shot him several times. The owner died of his wounds. Two employees witnessed the shooting and fled the area. The Complainant fired at them but missed. Two other employees of the shop were confronted in the front desk area by the Complainant. The first employee was shot in the head and would later die of his wounds. The second employee was shot in the leg and lived. The Complainant attempted to shoot the second employee again, but his gun was out of bullets. He fled the scene in the Jeep Cherokee, heading for Hamilton.

With Halton police in pursuit, Petrie made his way to Hamilton and ended up in the Cemetery. By this time, Hamilton Police joined the chase, both police forces tracking the suspect through his cell phone. Soon they were joined by a Halton Police tactical unit armed with rifles. Two Hamilton Police officers were first on the scene. A female HPS officer approached Petrie when he opened fire. She took cover behind a tree and returned fire, as did her partner. At that point they were unaware that Petrie was wearing a bulletproof vest.

SIU photo showing police markings where shots were discharged in Hamilton Cemetery

Armed with C-8 rifles, Halton tactical officers advanced shoulder to shoulder and began to fire at Petrie. At one point, having emptied his firearm of ammunition, it appears he ditched the empty magazine with the intention of inserting a fully loaded one. He was cut down by gunshots before he could do so.

In all the SIU says more than 50 shots were fired in the takedown. The bulletproof vest was capable of stopping the various pistol shots that hit him but not the rifle ammunition. Officers applied first aid but Petrie was declared deceased just before 5pm.

The SIU report concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the subject officials comported themselves other than within the limits of the criminal law when they fired at the gunman.

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