Drugs, drowning to blame for death of man in hotel room: SIU
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 5:35PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 19, 2016 6:33PM EDT
As more information comes to light about a man who died while police officers stood outside his Guelph hotel room, one person who knew the man says his death should serve as another sign of the dangers of drug use.
On May 17, 25-year-old Zachary Gallant died at a hotel on Silvercreek Parkway North.
Guelph Police officers had been called to the hotel to deal with a man who was damaging a room he had rented.
According to Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which looked into the case, police were called after loud noises were heard from inside the room, and another person in the hotel complained of water seeping into their room.
Responding police officers also heard the noises and noticed water coming from the doorway of Gallant’s room, but could not get him to answer the door.
Opening the door with a master key, they discovered that the door had been barricaded.
Believing Gallant had access to a knife, the officers waited for reinforcements – during which time the noises coming from inside the room stopped.
Officers ended up entering the hotel room and breaking down the door of the bathroom with a battering ram.
Gallant was found in the bathtub, naked and submerged. He could not be revived. According to the SIU, an autopsy found that he had died from a combination of drowning and methamphetamine use.
SIU director Tony Loparco says all actions taken by police at the hotel were justified.
“It is clear that the man’s death was not caused by the actions of the officer, and as such, no criminal charges are warranted,” he said in a news release.
Edward Pickersgill works at a downtown Guelph drop-in centre that Gallant occasionally frequented.
He says Gallant visited the drop-in centre before ending up at the hotel, and was clearly upset about something.
He also says social agencies like the drop-in centre are feeling “overwhelmed” at what he describes as a “tsunami” of unchecked drug abuse.
“We don’t stand much of a chance against what they’re putting into the crystal meth, what they’re lacing marijuana with these days,” he said.
“If (people) think there are recreational drugs or safe drugs these days, they’re making a mistake.”
With reporting by Nicole Lampa