SIU clears OPP officer who shot man in Northumberland County

The SIU collected and examined a Northumberland OPP officer's Glock model 17M 9-mm semi-automatic pistol and ammo as part of the investigation into a police shooting on Feb. 10, 2024. Special Investigations Unit photo

Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared an OPP officer of any wrongdoing in connection with the shooting of a man in Northumberland County in February.

The Special Investigations Unit launched an investigation after a man was shot by a Northumberland OPP officer on Feb. 10. In his report, SIU director Joseph Martino says early on Feb. 10, the subject officer and two other constables responded to a 911 about a domestic incident at a residence in Northumberland County.

The caller reported her spouse was intoxicated and had assaulted her. He then retrieved a long gun that he fired in the basement.

The SIU says when officers arrived, the man was seated on the steps of his front porch with a rifle and ammunition by his side.

Martino says the subject officer attempted to talk to the man, who reported he wasn’t interested talking and made references to suicide or “having police kill him.” He refused to put his gun away.

Story continues below advertisement

Martino says the subject officer swapped positions with the other officers and made her way to the rear of the house and helped the woman out safely.

The SIU says around 1:45 a.m. the man, having re-entered the house and then emerged onto the front porch, raised his rifle and fired a single shot.

“It is not clear whether he fired at any officer in particular,” Martino noted. “Within 30 to 60 seconds of that shot, and possibly as little as 10 seconds on the evidence, a further shot was discharged.”

The SIU director says the second shot was from the subject officer, who struck the man in the lower stomach. Officers approached and took him into custody.

“He complained that he had not been shot higher and explained that he had hoped for ‘suicide by police,'” Martino reported.

The investigation included an interview with the woman, notes from the two witness officers, in-car camera footage and communication recordings. Martino says based on the evidence gathered, there are no reasonable grounds to believe the subject officer committed a criminal offence.

He says the officers were within their rights to do what they “reasonably could do” to prevent harm coming to any residents and ensure public safety, especially knowing the incident involved a firearm.

Story continues below advertisement

He says the circumstances “strongly suggest” the subject officer acted to defend herself and her colleagues from harm after initially trying to de-escalate the situation and ensuring the safety of the other officers and the woman inside the home.

“The shooting, in my view, was the final act in a course of conduct that was commensurate with the exigencies of the moment,” he said.

Sponsored content