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News Release

SIU Concludes Tamworth Death Investigation

Case Number: 14-PCD-050

Mississauga (2 September, 2014) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police (Napanee Detachment) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 59-year-old man in February of this year.

The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, five witness officers were interviewed.  The subject officer consented to an interview and provided the SIU with a copy of his duty notes.  The SIU also collected and reviewed the OPP communication recordings. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, February 26, 2014:  
  • The police were on the search for the man.  He was reported to have killed another man and shot a firefighter in the arm in the Town of Tamworth before taking flight in a red pick-up truck north on County Road 15.  
  • The subject officer drove north on County Road 15 and eventually came upon the pick-up truck.  The truck was stationary and positioned in the centre of the road facing south.  
  • At approximately 5:25 p.m., the subject officer exited his cruiser armed with a C8 rifle and approached the pick-up truck. As he neared the vehicle, he could tell that it was empty.
  • The subject officer was half way between his cruiser and the pick-up truck when he heard a single gunshot sounding like it was coming from east of the truck. 
  • The officer retreated to his cruiser and took cover behind his driver’s door.  
  • Other officers soon arrived at the scene.  The area was secured and a command centre established several hundred metres south of the pick-up truck.  It was decided that a canine unit accompanied by Tactical Response Unit officers would be deployed to search for the man.
  • At about 6:30 p.m., four witness officers and a police dog made their way into the bushes east of the pick-up truck.  A set of footprints leading from the truck towards the field in that direction had been discovered in the snow.  
  • At about 6:40 p.m., one of the officers came across the man’s body.

Director Loparco concluded, “The man was found lying on top of two rifles, one of which was a loaded .223 calibre Ruger. A .223 cartridge case was located under the man’s body.  The make of that cartridge case was Remington and was identical to the other projectiles loaded in the .223 calibre Ruger.  The length of the .223 calibre Ruger, from the front of the barrel to the trigger, was 61.5 centimetres.  The size of the rifle would not preclude it being used to shoot oneself.  The pathologist at autopsy was of the view that the wound in question could have been self-inflicted.  Lastly, it bears noting that several civilian witnesses observed the man entering the bushes alone holding a gun case and a rifle.  These witnesses then heard a single gunshot and saw the first of the OPP officers arrive at the scene about one to five minutes later. 

“It is clear on this evidence that neither the subject officer nor any of the OPP officers involved in the search for the man had anything to with his death. On the contrary, the available evidence indicates that the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Jasbir Dhillon, jasbir.dhillon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342