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This article was published 18/1/2021 (315 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The province’s police watchdog has closed the book on an investigation involving the slaying of teen Jaime Adao while at the same time raising discrepancies between a police officer’s version of events and agreed facts made public in court.
Adao, 17, was stabbed to death March 3, 2019 after two men, high on meth, broke into his family’s McGee Street home looking for property to steal.
Ronald Bruce Chubb, the man who stabbed Adao, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced last week to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years. Co-accused Geordie Delma James, who was in another part of the house when Adao was stabbed, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Chubb had already stabbed Adao and had refused a police demand to drop the knife when an officer shot him in the chest and arm.
Chubb’s shooting triggered an automatic investigation by Manitoba’s Independent Investigation Unit. A final report released Monday recommended no charges against the officer who shot Chubb after prosecutors determined there was "no reasonable likelihood of conviction."
The version of events provided by the officer who shot Chubb, however, appeared at odds with the facts as disclosed in court.
According to a facts document agreed to by both prosecutors and the defence and provided to court, Adao was hiding in his bedroom calling 911 and his grandmother was sleeping in her bedroom when Chubb, armed with an 18-centimetre-long kitchen knife, found Adao and the two "became engulfed in a struggle."
Arriving police officers heard the struggle, went upstairs, and saw Chubb holding a knife. "Police demanded Chubb drop the knife," said an agreed statement of facts. "After Chubb refused to drop the knife, he was shot by police."
The officer who shot Chubb declined to be interviewed by IIU investigators, but provided a written statement that described a scenario differing in details, most significantly a deadly threat to Adao’s grandmother.
"I ran up the stairs yelling ‘Winnipeg Police,’" the officer, identified only as Subject Officer or SO, wrote. "I reached the second floor landing I turned to my left and saw an elderly female who was screaming for her life and saw a male with a knife in his hands attempting to stab the female…. All the light were on and it was clearly visible the female had her hands on the male’s arms/wrist attempting to stop him from stabbing her."
SO said at the same moment he told the man to drop the knife they both fell to the floor, the man’s hand still gripping the knife and attempting to stab the woman.
"Fearing for the life of the elderly female, I discharged my firearm in an attempt to stop the female from being killed by the male," SO wrote.
SO said it was only then he became aware of Adao in an adjacent room holding a metal pole.
"The young male had been stabbed and collapsed to the ground," SO wrote.
A 911 recording of the incident did not capture the sound of a woman screaming or a male voice announcing "Winnipeg police," the IIU report said.
When interviewed by police, Chubb claimed he had been struck on the head with a baseball bat and was trying to get away when he was shot. Chubb claimed police didn’t say anything before shooting him and said he had no memory of how he got into the home or of stabbing anyone.
"Following the completion of this investigation, and because of a number of material discrepancies in the various witness accounts, the civilian director forwarded the IIU investigative file to Manitoba Prosecution Service and requested a review and opinion on whether any Criminal Code charges should be authorized against the subject officer," IIU civilian director Zane Tessler wrote.
"Following the review… MPS advised IIU that this matter did not meet the prosecution-charging standard in that there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction against the officer."
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.