A one-year-old boy has died, his father was shot and a provincial police officer was injured following an alleged abduction in central Ontario on Thursday, the province’s police watchdog said as it launched an investigation into the incident.
The father’s vehicle crashed into an Ontario Provincial Police cruiser and struck an officer who was outside the car while police were investigating the alleged kidnapping in Kawartha Lakes, Ont., a spokeswoman for the Special Investigations Unit told an evening news conference.
Three officers shot at the 33-year-old man driving the vehicle after an “interaction,” Monica Hudon said.
“The man was struck and he was airlifted to hospital in grave condition,” she said. “Inside the vehicle was the man’s son, a one-year-old boy, and he was fatally wounded.”
She didn’t reveal the nature of the boy’s injuries, but said the crash happened some time after police tried to pull the father’s vehicle over.
Video from the scene showed sirens flashing through the fog on a rural road just east of Lindsay, Ont. Investigators – some in uniform – walked between numerous police vehicles that were parked behind caution tape.
The stretch of Pigeon Lake Road was closed for investigation late Thursday morning. Police shut down even more of that road later in the day.
Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham said he’s not able to comment on an ongoing investigation, but that the incident has shaken his central Ontario municipality.
“The community is in disbelief that this is happening,” he wrote in an e-mail.
He added that they’re also appreciative of what provincial police officers do to keep Kawartha Lakes safe.
While the SIU will investigate the officers’ involvement in the incident, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the York Regional Police have been called in to handle other aspects of the investigation.
“As a result of a tragic incident today, one child is dead and two others significantly injured. I ask that (the SIU) and (York police) be given time to investigate, without speculation on the events as they unfolded,” he said in a tweet. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those that are suffering today.”
He noted that the OPP officer, who was initially listed in critical condition, is now stable. He’s being treated at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
This is the second incident in less than a week in which the SIU has been called in to investigate the death or injury of a provincial police officer.
Const. Marc Hovingh was shot and killed in the line of duty on Manitoulin Island last Friday while investigating an “unwanted man” on a property in Gore Bay, Ont.
The man, identified as Gary Brohman, was also shot and killed.
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.