News Release

SIU Lays Charges Against OPP Officer in Shooting Death of Man in Chatham-Kent

Case Number: 21-PFD-211   

Other News Releases Related to Case 21-PFD-211

SIU Investigating Firearm Discharge in Chatham-Kent

Mississauga, ON (14 January, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer committed criminal offences in relation to the shooting death of a 24-year-old man in Chatham-Kent last July.

The investigation found that on July 7, 2021, the Chatham-Kent OPP responded to a call about a gasoline theft. Officers located the vehicle believed to be involved travelling westbound on Highway 401 and followed it. The vehicle ended up in the ditch dividing the highway. One of the officers approached the vehicle, and his firearm discharged and shot the driver. The man died in hospital.

As a result of the SIU investigation, Cst. Sean O’Rourke is charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of criminal negligence causing death, contrary to sections 236(a) and 220(a) of the Criminal Code, respectively.

Cst. O’Rourke was arrested by members of the SIU today and subsequently released on an undertaking with conditions. He is required to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at 425 Grand Avenue West in Chatham on February 16, 2022.

As the matter is before the courts, and in consideration of the fair trial interests of the accused, the SIU will not provide further comment on the investigation.  

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Kristy Denette,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES