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SIU continues investigation into shooting death of abducted 1-year-old in Kawartha Lakes

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A post mortem is scheduled for Saturday morning on the body of a one-year-old boy, who died of a gunshot wound near Lindsay on Thursday. The boy's father, who was shot by police, as well as an OPP officer, injured at the scene, are in a Toronto hospital. Mark Giunta reports – Nov 27, 2020

Ontario’s police watchdog continues to investigate a Thursday morning incident in which a one-year-old boy suffered a fatal gunshot wound, his father was shot and an OPP officer was also injured in Lindsay, Ont.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says the shooting happened following a domestic dispute and an abduction attempt from a Trent Lakes home.

On Friday, the SIU said a post-mortem for the deceased child is scheduled for Saturday morning.

The SIU also reported the injured OPP officer, which Global News has learned is at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto,  was in stable condition. The father of the child was also reportedly still in a Toronto hospital. No details were provided on his condition.

According to the SIU, three police-issued firearms were collected from the scene. A fourth handgun was found in the suspect pickup truck involved in the collision.  The firearms, along with the pick up truck, will be sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for examination.

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According to the SIU, seven individuals are probing the incident, including four investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist. The SIU also says they are investigating the actions of three “subject officers.”

Two civilian witnesses have been interviewed.

OPP declined to comment to Global News on Friday, as the SIU has invoked its mandate. The area of Pigeon Lake Road between Lilac Road and Settlers Road remains closed as of Friday morning.

Read more: Boy, 1, fatally wounded, father shot, City of Kawartha Lakes OPP officer injured following abduction: SIU

What happened?

SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon says OPP officers were responding to reports of the abduction of a one-year-old boy by his 33-year-old father at a home in the neighbouring Municipality of Trent Lakes at around 8:45 a.m. on Thursday.

According to the SIU, this came following a domestic dispute that allegedly involved a firearm. Global News has learned the location is about 10 km northeast of the village of Bobcaygeon.

A Trent Lakes resident tells Global News she heard a vehicle speed away from a home and that police chased it.

“We heard the first vehicle hit the side of the road, so you could tell it was going really fast,” said Michelle Barry. “Almost like a car chase. Then we heard the sirens.”

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Another neighbour, Tom Deciccio, says he heard a frantic knock on his door — a woman, her son, and a therapist were seeking refuge.

“Some people came to the house and wanted in, for a safe haven and there was something about the husband had left with the little baby,” he said.

According to the SIU, OPP located a pickup truck of interest on Sturgeon Road in the City of Kawartha Lakes a short time later. Police said officers attempted to stop the truck, which reportedly resulted in a collision on Pigeon Lake Road between the truck, an OPP cruiser, and a civilian vehicle.

Click to play video 'Boy, 1, dead, man and Kawartha Lakes OPP officer injured following abduction attempt: SIU' Boy, 1, dead, man and Kawartha Lakes OPP officer injured following abduction attempt: SIU
Boy, 1, dead, man and Kawartha Lakes OPP officer injured following abduction attempt: SIU – Nov 26, 2020

The SIU said an OPP officer was standing outside the cruiser during the collision and had sustained serious injuries. According to the OPP, the officer was a member of City of Kawartha Lakes OPP detachment. Global News has learned the officer is being treated at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

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A City of Kawartha Lakes OPP officer arrives at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday.
A City of Kawartha Lakes OPP officer arrives at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday. Adam Dabrowski/Global News

After the collision, the SIU said an ‘”interaction ensued” between the 33-year-old driver of the pickup truck and officers. The SIU said three officers discharged their firearms, and the suspect was struck.  He had to be airlifted to a Toronto hospital in critical condition. As of Friday, he remains in hospital.

“Its too early for us to know why officers fired at the vehicle, and it’s too early for us to know what exactly transpired, and that’s what our investigation will determine,” Hudon said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the SIU said a one-year-old boy inside the pickup truck suffered a fatal gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. No further information was provided on how or when the boy was injured. According to the Canadian Press, the child was in the backseat.

“This is absolutely shocking,” City of Kawartha Lakes Councillor Kathleen-Seymour Fagan told Global News on Friday. “Within such a small community of Kawartha Lakes – you don’t expect it. The first responders that attended – they’re not used to things like this. They’ve done an amazing job. I think it’ll be difficult for a lot of people to deal with what has happened here.”

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An Ornge air ambulance was requested by officials but was unable to attend due to thick fog in the area at the time, a source tells Global News.

SIU investigators arrived on the scene at Pigeon Lake Road around 12:35 p.m. on Thursday and invoked its mandate. The SIU is an independent agency that investigates the conduct of officers responding to calls that have resulted in death, serious injury or alleged sexual assault.

At the request of OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique, the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service and York Regional Police Service will help with the ongoing investigation while the OPP’s criminal investigation branch will manage the scene.

In a tweet on Thursday, Carrique said one suspect was in custody.

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“There are no concerns for public safety,” he tweeted at 10:07 a.m. “Our thoughts and best wishes are with our officer, further information will follow.”

The municipal City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service in Lindsay closed Pigeon Lake Road between Heights Road and Settlers Road for the investigation. Global News has learned the area was still closed as of Friday morning.

The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about this investigation to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. The unit is also urging anyone who may have any video evidence related to this incident to upload that video through the SIU website.