Three Toronto police officers failed to properly investigate calls to shelter, where woman was later found dead in room with alleged killer: court doctors

Three Toronto police officers face misconduct charges after allegedly failing to properly investigate calls for service at a North York shelter, where a woman was found dead in a room with her alleged killer last summer.

Hearing notices provided to CP24 document what allegedly occurred at the shelter on June 29, 2023, involving officers Adam Yurkiw, Victor Lai, and Sivapragasam Sivachandrian.

Shelter staff first called police on June 28, shortly after 9:30 p.m., about two occupants who refused to leave the building. There were no units available until the next day at 7:25 a.m. when Const. Sivachandrian and his partner responded. The documents said Sivachandrian was the “coach” of his partner, who had recently become a police officer.

Dispatch informed the two that a male and female occupants were known drug users and had barricaded themselves in the room, according to court documents. The two were also informed that one of the occupants had an outstanding warrant.

Sivachandrian and his partner arrived at the shelter at 7:42 a.m. and met with the shift manager on duty, who was unaware of the pending call.

After the manager was unable to reach the night staff who placed the call, Sivachandrian cleared the scene at 7:55 a.m. and closed the call with a “No Action Required” disposition. The documents allege that he never investigated the matter and took no action, not even knocking on the door or attempting to interact with the occupants.

Eighteen minutes after Sivachandrian and his partner left, shelter staff contacted police again, but since no units were available at the time, the call was pending until 4:43 p.m.

Officers Adam Yurkiw and Victor Lai were sent to the shelter. When they arrived shortly after 5 p.m., staff informed officers that the two occupants refused to open the door and had locked it. Staff told officers the two occupants robbed another occupant of the shelter and caused damage to the building.

Staff also expressed concern to Yurkiw and Lai regarding the well-being of the female occupant barricaded in the room because they had not heard from or seen her in two days.

According to the documents, the two officers contacted their supervisor for additional assistance even though they were already equipped with “use of force options,” including a rifle and a less-lethal shotgun.

The supervisor informed the two that there were no additional officers and that the first available unit would not be dispatched until 6:00 p.m. The documents indicated that Yurkiw and Lai left the scene at 5:49 p.m. and told shelter staff that The police would return in about an hour with more officers.

The two allegedly failed to do numerous things before leaving, including attending the room the occupants were in, interacting with them, remaining on the scene until more units arrived, and communicating staff concerns about the occupant’s well-being to their supervisor. the occupant The call remained pending until 11:51 am the next day, when members of the Emergency Task Force (ETF) responded to the scene.

ETF entered the room and discovered that the female occupant had been murdered by the male occupant, documents state.

The three officers working in the 33rd Division have been charged with misconduct for allegedly failing to perform their duties by failing to conduct a proper investigation into the radio call despite having information about the barricaded occupants and one of them possibly in danger.

Additionally, the documents say they committed misconduct because they “acted in a manner that was disorderly or detrimental to discipline or likely to bring the reputation of the Toronto Police Service into disrepute.”

The three officers are also being charged with insubordination after they failed to activate their body-worn cameras at the scene while interacting with shelter staff.

Additionally, Yurkiw faces a charge of misconduct for allegedly failing to inform her supervisor of staff concerns about the occupant’s well-being when she called for backup. The sergeant “was under the impression that these were simply two occupants who refused to leave,” according to the documents.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Meanwhile, police had charged a 43-year-old man with second-degree murder in the woman’s death.


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