Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, says it’s investigating after an Ontario Provincial Police officer and a 60-year-old civilian were shot and killed in connection with an incident on Manitoulin Island on Thursday.
“An individual contacted the OPP to report the presence of an unwanted person on a property in Gore Bay,” SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon said.
“Soon after officers arrived on the scene, they encountered the man and there was an interaction.”
At about 11 a.m. Thursday, the SIU says the OPP officer and the man exchanged gunfire, which resulted in both of them getting shot. They were transported to the hospital, where they both died as a result of their injuries.
On Thursday, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique identified the 28-year veteran officer who died as Marc Hovingh.
The SIU said three investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the case.
On Thursday, Manitoulin OPP said two officers were conducting a follow-up investigation related to a property dispute when an interaction occurred and resulted in the death of Hovingh, who was 52 years old, and the man, who isn’t being named until his identity is confirmed and next of kin have been notified.
OPP confirmed no other police officers were injured as a result of the incident.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Provincial Constable Marc Hovingh who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Manitoulin Island,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement Thursday.
“Our government has requested that the flags at Queen’s Park be lowered out of respect for the fallen and their family who are all grieving at this very difficult time.”
Residents of Manitoulin Island are remembering Hovingh as a gentle giant who loved his four kids.
Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, said the “tight knit” community of Manitoulin Island is “devastated” at the loss of Hovingh.
“On Manitoulin Island, OPP officers are our friends and our neighbours,” Mantha said in a statement. “We will be forever changed by the devastating loss of one of our own.”
In a statement, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she’s saddened to learn about Hovingh’s death.
“I extend the heartfelt condolences of the official opposition to the family and loved ones of Constable Hovingh, as well as to all members of the OPP,” Horwath said.
On Friday, OPP said they requested the Greater Sudbury Police Service’s assistance to investigate the homicide of Hovingh.
The OPP said information regarding funeral arrangements for Hovingh will be forthcoming at a later time.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the SIU at 1-800-787-8529. The agency is also asking people with video evidence to upload it through its website.
— With files from The Canadian Press