Man shot by undercover Peel police

May 01, 2007 11:51 PM

Staff Reporters
One man was shot and a second man arrested Tuesday night as undercover officers boxed in an SUV in a Mississauga big-box mall parking lot.

A third man also fled the scene of the police shooting, where undercover officers from Peel police were investigating a stolen vehicle.

The province’s Special Investigation Unit began probing the shooting scene outside the Rona Home & Garden Centre near Eglinton Ave. W. and Winston Churchill Blvd. following the 7 p.m. incident.

In an initial release from the SIU late Tuesday night, investigators said one of the officers fired a shot into the vehicle after confronting the three men inside.

Taking a break during a training shift at the McDonald’s directly across the parking lot from the shooting, Stephanie Kuhn, 16, said the scene was unlike any other.

“All of a sudden we just heard a bang,” said Kuhn, who was with the two employees she was training at the time. “We weren’t sure if it was a firework or something but we looked and all we saw was a guy in a car with a gun.”

Six to eight people surrounded the boxed-in vehicle immediately after the shots were fired, Kuhn said, and she heard someone yelling ‘Get on the ground. Get on the ground.”

Kuhn and other witnesses were not at first aware that the shooting involved undercover officers from the Peel police department until uniformed officers surrounded the area moments after shots were fired.

When she heard someone yelling to call an ambulance, Kuhn made the emergency call from her cellphone, but said two or three marked police vehicles were on the scene within three minutes, and the ambulance was there just a minute later.

The suspects, one who shot in the upper chest, were described as men in their mid-20s.

A single gunshot penetrated the windshield of the dark blue Chevy Trailblazer, but police would not confirm that the man was shot when he refused to drop a handgun, as some witnesses said they had heard.

The bleeding victim was taken to Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital where he was undergoing surgery.

A surveillance camera is situated at a Rona exit door overlooking the shooting scene. One employee said police would be reviewing the video.

The provincial SIU is a civilian agency that investigates police incidents resulting civilian death, sexual assault or serious physical injury.