Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating a chain of events that included a hit-and-run that killed a famous Hamilton conductor.
Hamilton police said they were called to the intersection of Park Street South and Markland Street in the lower city shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, where a 78-year-old had been struck by a vehicle and was rushed to hospital in “critical life-threatening condition”.
On Tuesday afternoon, Hamilton police issued an update, saying the man had succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
Investigators have not identified the victim but Global News has confirmed that Boris Brott was the victim in the hit-and-run.
Both the Montreal Classical Orchestra and Brott Music Festival revealed the maestro’s death in social media posts.
Police say the driver fled the scene and was arrested by officers on Elmwood Avenue near Garth Street on the mountain, adding that three police officers and a male suspect were taken to hospital to be treated for unspecified injuries.
A spokesperson for Hamilton police said the matter is now in the hands of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
“What I can say is that police did have interaction with the vehicle involved and we do have a male arrested.” Cst. Indy Bharaj told reporters on scene.
Bharaj says the suspect in custody is a 33-year-old from Hamilton that made contact with authorities in the downtown core prior to the collision on Park Street.
On Elmwood Avenue, where officers made the arrest, the vehicle being investigated “collided with several police vehicles,” the SIU said.
In a press release, the watchdog said three investigators and one forensic investigator had been assigned to the case. They will probe the incident involving police vehicles, not the original hit-and-run.
Bharaj did not elaborate on whether damage to two Hamilton police cruisers – seen parked on two separate properties in the area of Elmwood Avenue – was connected to the interaction with the suspect, saying the matter is under the SIU’s jurisdiction.
Brott was one of the most internationally recognized Canadian conductors, with a career spanning decades.
He was the founder and artistic director of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and the Brott Music Festival, both based in Hamilton.
He also served as a maestro for the Orchestre Classique de Montréal.
Brott was an Officer of the Order of Canada and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by Tourism Hamilton in 2007.
“It is difficult to conceive that our darling husband, beloved father and fun-loving, doting Zaidie has been taken from us so suddenly and senselessly,” said wife Ardyth in a statement.
The conductor leaves behind a wife, daughter Alexandra, sons David and Benjamin.