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News Release

SIU Concludes Death Investigation in Lambton County

Case Number: 14-PCD-055

Mississauga (9 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 (Lambton County Detachment) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 40-year-old man in March of this year.

The SIU assigned three investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, four witness officers and seven civilian witnesses were interviewed.  The subject officer provided a copy of his duty notes but did not consent to an interview, as is his legal right.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Sunday, March 2, 2014: 

  • That afternoon, the man asked that an acquaintance collect his firearms from the residence he shared with his common-law wife. The acquaintance went to the home, however, the man’s common-law wife refused to turn over the guns and told the acquaintance that the man had threatened to harm himself. 
  • Concerned for the man’s wellbeing, the acquaintance set out in his jeep to search the reserve (Stony Point First Nation Reserve) for the man. He located the man’s pickup truck parked in the parade square of the reserve.  The man was sitting in the driver’s seat holding a shotgun pointed at his chest. 
  • The man made it clear he was distraught and intent on ending his life.  The acquaintance attempted to distract him and pleaded with him to refrain from hurting himself.  
  • When the man indicated that he would pull the trigger if the police responded to the scene, the acquaintance drove to the main gate of the reserve to ensure the police did not enter.
  • In the meantime, the man’s common-law wife also arrived at the scene. She contacted the OPP notifying them that the man was on the verge of hurting himself with a gun.  
  • A short time later the subject officer and four witness officers arrived at the reserve. Shortly thereafter, they were met at the front gate by the acquaintance who warned them of the man’s threat to kill himself if he saw the police.  
  • The subject officer decided that the police would stand back for the moment, not wishing to provoke the man or inflame the situation.  The officers proceeded to secure the front gate.  The subject officer also asked for the attendance of a trained negotiator.  
  • The acquaintance returned in his vehicle to the man’s pickup truck. He saw the man breathing heavily before firing the shotgun into his chest.   
  • The acquaintance yelled for assistance. He also reached into the pickup truck and retrieved the shotgun in order to secure it.  
  • From a distance, a witness officer had observed the man with the gun through his binoculars and informed the subject officer, prompting the subject officer and the other officers to approach the scene in their cruisers.  
  • They removed the man from the pickup truck, attempted to stem the loss of blood from the wound and administered CPR.  
  • Paramedics arrived a short time later and continued with the resuscitative efforts. 
  • The man was taken to Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital and was pronounced dead. 

 

Director Loparco concluded, “I am satisfied on this evidence that neither the subject officer nor any of the other OPP officers present at the time, had anything to do with the man’s death.  They acted prudently, in my view, in refraining from approaching the man’s pickup truck given his threat to shoot himself if they did.  Instead, they set about doing what they could to ensure public safety by blockading the front gate of the reserve, calling for a trained negotiator and maintaining a lookout of the pickup truck from a distance.  Incidentally, it seems to me highly unlikely that the man had seen any of the officers before his last fateful act.  While one of the witness officers did have a line of sight to the vehicle, he was several hundred yards away on Army Camp Road and monitoring the events through binoculars.

“In the final analysis, it is clear that the man died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.  ” 

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