Boy dead, his father and OPP officer seriously hurt in interaction near Lindsay, Ont.: SIU
Published Thursday, November 26, 2020 10:41AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 26, 2020 5:53PM EST
The province's police watchdog is investigating an interaction between a 33-year-old man and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) near Lindsay, Ont. on Thursday that left the man and a police officer seriously wounded and the man's one-year-old son, who he allegedly abducted, dead.
The OPP said they were called to the municipality of Trent Lakes just before 9 a.m. for a domestic dispute involving a firearm.
According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates incidents involving police that have resulted in death or serious injury, police were made aware that a father had allegedly abducted his son.
Officers located a vehicle of interest on Sturgeon Road a short time later and attempted to stop it, SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon said.
The vehicle then collided with an OPP cruiser and a civilian vehicle on Pigeon Lake Road.
The SIU said the driver of the vehicle, a 33-year-old man, and police officers became involved in a confrontation following the crash, resulting in three officers discharging their firearms at the man.
Police subsequently apprehended the man, who was then airlifted to a Toronto trauma centre in serious condition.
The SIU said officers found the man's one-year-old son inside the vehicle with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
An OPP officer who was seriously injured in the collision was taken to a hospital in Toronto, where he is in stable condition.
Hudon said four investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist have been assigned to the case. Three subject officers have also been designated.
Hudon said it is too early to say why officers fired at the man.
"It's too early for us to know what exactly transpired. And that's what our investigation will determine," she said.
Speaking to CP24 Thursday night, Chris Lewis, former OPP Commissioner and CTV News public safety analyst, said part of the investigation will ascertain who fired the shot that killed the boy.
"There's so much unknown about this. And a lot of that won't be known in the near future because the SIU is investigating the use of force by the OPP officers," Lewis said.
When asked if police could have handled the incident differently, he said it is hard to determine that, especially with the investigation just beginning.
"These are always difficult situations," Lewis said. "When someone's fleeing from police, that's always a difficult judgment call on the part of the communication center, the supervisors and the officers as to when to stop that pursuit."
Lewis said that decision becomes increasingly more complicated when a child is involved.
"Do you let someone that's a threat potentially to that child continue on and not chase them? It has to be handled very carefully," he said.
"They try a variety of ways to get those vehicles stopped when that occurs, without causing injury to anyone. And sometimes it doesn't go as well as it could."