Advertisement
Crime

UPDATE: Brockville police arrest youth in relation to death of Damian Sobieraj

On Oct. 30, police arrested a 15-year-old teen, charging them with manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and assault.

Brockville police have arrested a 15-year-old in connection to the death of 33-year-old Damian Sobieraj.

The youth, who cannot be named due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is facing a number of charges including manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and assault.

READ MORE: Youth-run gang reportedly ‘terrorizing’ Brockville community

This comes after several weeks of investigating Sobieraj’s death, which police deemed suspicious after he was last heard to be at a Brockville park.

Brockville police say each day since Sobieraj’s death, four detectives have been working full time on the investigation, which resulted in Tuesday’s arrest.

“We identified everybody who was in the park that night, we interviewed them. It was an extensive process,” said Brockville Staff Sgt. Tom Fournier. “It took most of the weekend from that time and forensic evidence that we obtained from the scene — we identified the altercation and how Damian ended up in the water.”

Story continues below advertisement

According to police, Sobieraj was walking his dog at Hardy Park on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 13. when he called police to report a disturbance, hours before his body was found in the St. Lawerence River.

When the police arrived, they found Sobieraj’s dog chained to a tree at the park, which led to a search of the area, including the help of an OPP diving team.

Sobieraj’s body was found by the diving team at around 4.pm. on Sept. 14, and the death was considered suspicious. It wasn’t until Oct. 30 that police confirmed foul play in the 33-year-old’s death.

WATCH: Brockville police investigating mysterious death

Missing Brockville man leads to mysterious death
Missing Brockville man leads to mysterious death

Police have not given any more details about the youth who was charged, other than their age.

Since Sobieraj’s death, public attention has been focused on a group of youths who refer to themselves as the “Burr Gang.” Police say the teens who make up the group age from 13 to 17, and they have been causing chaos throughout the city for the last year.

Since the group’s appearance and Sobieraj’s death, two citizen groups have organized to take back the streets of Brockville, a neighbourhood watch and a group of night patrollers who call themselves The Watch Dogs.

Story continues below advertisement

Although officers say the group is not organized enough to be a gang, Brockville police Chief Scott Fraser admitted that the city does have a youth violence problem, telling Global News that the 14-year-old ringleader of the Burr Gang is well-known to police.

WATCH: Brockville Police Chief speaks to youth crime problem

Brockville Police Chief speaks to youth crime problem
Brockville Police Chief speaks to youth crime problem

“Since July 1, we’ve dealt with her 15 times, and in the last two weeks, we’ve charged her four times,” Fraser told Global News on Oct. 15.

Police could not confirm whether the suspect is involved with that particular group.