Niagara Regional Police have been called in by officers in Hamilton to conduct an “impartial” criminal investigation into the emergency medical care that was given a 19-year-old Hamilton man who was shot and killed while trying to help a man being harassed.
“The Hamilton Police Service believes a criminal investigation is warranted based on the review of the preliminary evidence,” Hamilton Police Const. Jerome Stewart said in a written statement Wednesday.
“We have requested that Niagara Police Service conduct a criminal investigation to ensure a fair and impartial investigation is completed.”
When contacted by Global News, Stewart said he was unable to comment further on the nature of the criminal investigation or specific evidence in order to “protect the integrity” of the investigation.
Yosif Al-Hasnawi, a Brock University student and aspiring doctor, was leaving the Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre mosque in central Hamilton on the evening of Dec. 2 when he and a friend saw two men verbally harassing an older man. Al-Hasnawi tried to intervene and was subsequently shot. He was taken to hospital and died a short time later.
Some witnesses present on the night of the shooting questioned the response by Hamilton Paramedics and claimed the ambulance took a long time to arrive. They also said the paramedics didn’t appear to take the injuries seriously.
“For more than 20 minutes we asked the paramedics to take him to hospital and they said, ‘No, he was just fine. When he saw you coming he started acting out,’” Amin Al-Tahir, a director at the mosque, said after the shooting.
“[Paramedics] started to laugh with each other. We told them, ‘Please, take him to the hospital. He has difficulty breathing.’ They decided to take him because people came more and more.”
The Hamilton Paramedic Service previously said that it is conducting its own investigation into what happened. However, a spokeswoman said the service will pause its internal investigation now that a police investigation is underway.
In addition, a separate Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care investigation is underway.
Dale Burningsky King, a 19-year-old Hamilton resident, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Al-Hasnawi. James Anthony Robert Matheson, a 20-year-old Hamilton resident, has been charged with accessory after the fact of murder.
With files from Lisa Polewski, Shiona Thompson and The Canadian Press
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