A one-year-old boy was found dead from a gunshot wound after Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers opened fire on a man accused of abducting the toddler on Thursday morning, according to a statement from the province’s Special Investigative Unit (SIU).
The man was shot by police, but survived.
The SIU, which rarely gives out fulsome details into its investigations, did not directly say in its statement that the boy was shot by police. However, its statement only reports that gunfire came from OPP in the incident.
“An interaction ensued between the 33-year-old vehicle driver and officers, and three officers discharged their firearms. The man was struck and airlifted to the hospital in grave condition,” the statement said. “Inside the pickup truck was a one-year-old boy. He had sustained a gunshot wound and was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
The SIU did not identify the boy or the suspect.
Police say the altercation took place after authorities responded to a call about a domestic disturbance involving a firearm around 8:45 a.m. Thursday in the municipality of Trent Lakes, about a couple of hours’ drive northeast of Toronto.
The suspect, who police say is the boy’s father, reportedly fled the scene in a pickup truck while being chased by police cruisers.
Michelle Barry, a Trent Lakes resident interviewed by Global News, said that she heard police chasing the truck as it sped away from the property.
“We heard the first vehicle hit the side of the road, so you could tell it was going really fast,” said Barry. “Almost like a car chase. Then we heard the sirens.”
The truck was reportedly intercepted by OPP officers some 30 kilometres southeast, on a rural road in Lindsay, Ontario.
The SIU says a collision occurred between an OPP car and a civilian vehicle when police tried to stop the suspect’s truck, after which three officers opened fire on the truck.
As a result of the collision and shooting, SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon said that one officer was seriously injured and the boy was pronounced dead as a result of a “fatal gunshot wound.”
The father was taken into custody.
Hudon declined to comment on whether the father was armed at the time of the shooting, but said that an update would be coming later Friday.
The incident takes place exactly one week after an OPP officer was killed in a shootout with a man near Manitoulin Island.
Const. Marc Hovingh, 52, and Gary Brohman, 60, both died in hospital after exchanging gunfire on November 19.
Police say Hovingh and his partner were reportedly visiting a trailer where Brohman lived in relation to a property dispute when the altercation took place.
According to a family member interviewed by CBC News, Brohman was distrustful of police and was struggling with addiction prior to the shootout.
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