Two Hamilton paramedics have been charged in connection to the death of a Yosif Al-Hasnawi, a 19-year-old who was shot while coming to the aid of an elderly man.
Steven Snivley, 53, of Hamilton and Christopher Marchant, 29 of Whitby, have been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life.
Al-Hasnawi was fatally shot on December 2, 2017 while attempting to diffuse an altercation between three men outside of a mosque, in which one of the men was reportedly being harassed by the two others.
When medical help arrived on scene, witnesses told CBC News the paramedics took too long to treat and transport the teen to hospital. According to witnesses, the paramedics accused Al-Hasnawi of faking his injuries and making them appear worse than they actually were. They thought he had been shot with a pellet gun, witnesses told CBC.
Hamilton police have previously confirmed that there was a 38 minute lapse between when paramedics arrived on the scene, and when he arrived to hospital. He was conscious when he was loaded into an ambulance, and had been saying, "I can't breathe."
He died 19 minutes later.
The union representing paramedics declined to comment on the charges to VICE News, but Mario Posteraro, president of OPSEU Local 256, told CBC the paramedics "are intent on vigorously defending against these criminal charges" and that the union is positive the pair will be acquitted "when the totality of the evidence is provided."
The charges were laid by Niagara Regional Police, which was brought in to investigate the paramedics' actions. In a statement, Niagara Regional Police Chief Bryan MacCulloch called it a "complex and intricate investigation" that included interviews with over 60 witnesses, along with examination of video and audio recordings, and consultation with healthcare professionals.
"This was a very difficult and challenging case for our investigators," he said. "While our investigation has concluded, we recognize that this continues to be a very tragic situation for the family of the deceased and our thoughts and condolences certainly go out to them."
The family of the murdered teen, including the father and two brothers, are suing Hamilton police, paramedics and St. Joseph’s Healthcare for $10 million in compensation. In its statement of defence, the hospital said Al-Hasnawi arrived to its care with vital signs absent, and "notwithstanding heroic measures" died 19 minutes later.
Charges had already been laid in his shooting. Dale Burningsky King, 19, has been charged with second-degree murder. James Matheson, 20, has been charged with being an accessory after the fact.
Cover image of Yosif Al-Hasnawi via Facebook group