RCMP officer who shot Kelowna criminal won't face charges - InfoNews

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RCMP officer who shot Kelowna criminal won't face charges

Jon Michael Aronson
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
December 21, 2019 - 10:35 AM

The Mountie who shot Jon Aronson as he tried to flee arrest in Kelowna was cleared of wrongdoing this week and won't face criminal charges, says the RCMP watchdog.

"Overall this was a dynamic and dangerous situation created by the actions of (Aronson) fleeing on foot and then using the car he stole as a weapon. (The officer) acted in a justified and necessary manner to protect himself and others," Ronald MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office said in a report published Dec. 20.

"Accordingly, as the Chief Civilian Director the IIO, I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges."

The situation got underway Jan. 23 when the RCMP's emergency response team members executed a tactical vehicle takedown in Orchard Park Mall, near the CIBC.

Aronson had escaped RCMP in days prior and become the focus of a manhunt.

Once he realized he'd been detected, he tried to flee the area in a taxi which accelerated RCMP concerns for the well-being of others in the vehicle.

"One ERT vehicle drove into the parking lot and struck the front of a taxi, while another stopped beside it and a third pulled up behind," MacDonald wrote.

"An explosive distraction device was deployed."

Officers took control of the taxi driver and Aronson's two companions, but Aronson ran from the taxi towards a bank building, pursued on foot by ERT members.

A witness said it looked like Aronson was reaching into his pocket as he ran.

He emerged from the area of the bank shortly thereafter in a Dodge truck he'd found idling outside the bank. Aronson threw it in reverse and officers had to jump out of its way.

Aronson told IIO investigators that's when he saw the officer "dead in front of (him)"  and he shot through the window.

"The critical events that followed — including the discharge of six rounds from (the officer's) firearm, two of which struck (Aronson) took a matter of only a few seconds," MacDonald wrote.

For IIO investigators it was vital to determine as precisely as possible what happened in those few seconds so the officer's actions could be subjected to a fully informed evaluation.

There was no video footage of the shooting, and few good eyewitness accounts, so the analysis was based on scene and vehicle examinations, ballistic evidence, and medical evidence.

The evidence showed the bullets were fired into the Dodge with a downward trajectory.

Four bullets entered the vehicle through the hood, two went through the passenger side.

Of the two that went through the passenger side, one lodged in Aronson's hip and the other into his harm.

Aronson was later convicted of the crimes he was arrested for and during his September sentencing hearing, the court heard he was in an induced coma for six days and had 107 stitches and staples from the dog bites and 37 stitches and staples from the gunshot wounds.

He was in the hospital for 25 days and confined to a wheelchair for five months.

While he had a long list of crimes under his belt, the court found that the near-death ordeal he faced had to be factored into his sentence.

Aronson was in jail for 251 days and credited with time and a half for that period, amounting to 12.5 months served.

For fleeing police he was sentenced to eight months while the dangerous driving charge sentence was 4.5 months — he will serve them consecutively. Remaining lesser charges will be served concurrent to that 12.5 months.

 


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