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News Release

SIU Concludes Death Investigation in Burk’s Falls

Case Number: 14-PCD-157

Mississauga (2 April, 2015) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with the Almaguin Highlands detachment with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 54-year-old man in July of 2014.

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

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, July 16, 2014:

  • Shortly after 6 a.m., a 911 telephone call was made by the man to the Police Communication Centre in North Bay. The man reported that he was armed with a gun.
  • A number of OPP officers were dispatched to a home in Burk’s Falls. Information was provided that the male had pointed a gun at a female and that he felt that nearby workers were harassing him.
  • The 911 call captured the man’s voice observing the police approach and yelling at them to stay at the corner. Soon after, a single gunshot was fired.
  • Officers administered first aid to the man until Emergency Medical Services arrived. The man was taken to Huntsville District Memorial Hospital Site where he was pronounced dead.

The police guns were seized and it was determined that none of them had been fired, confirming the accounts of the officers and the civilians who had been eye and ear witnesses to the events, to the effect that only the man’s gun had been discharged at the scene.

Director Loparco said, “It is evident from a review of all the evidence that the man died from a single self-inflicted gunshot, very soon after the arrival of the police at the spot where he had ordered a woman into her vehicle at gunpoint. The police had no time or opportunity to prevent what occurred. In the result there was no evidence whatsoever that any of the involved officers had any culpability in his death and there is no basis for laying criminal charges in this case.”

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. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342