Sudbury·Audio

Manitoulin man killed along with OPP officer had distrust of police, relatives say

The family of the man who died in a gunfight with police on Manitoulin Island last week is waiting to find out what exactly happened that morning. 

No funeral to be held for 60-year-old Gary Brohman

Gary Brohman, a 60-year-old father and grandfather, was shot and killed in his trailer outside of Gore Bay, along with an Ontario Provincial Police officer. (Facebook)

From his apartment, Calvin Blue heard the sirens of police cars come screaming through Gore Bay last Thursday.

Then he read on Facebook that there was a serious incident up on the East Bluff, a wooded area just outside of the small Manitoulin Island town. 

"Well, when they said the East Bluff, the first thing that came to mind, yeah," says the 76-year-old.

"Probably Gary."

His nephew Gary Brohman and Ontario Provincial Police Constable Marc Hovingh shot at each other that morning in a trailer where Brohman had been living. 

Both men later died in hospital.

Police say Hovingh and another officer went to the trailer to follow up on a "property dispute", but, other than that, few details have been released, as the province's Special Investigations Unit has taken over the case.

Blue says Brohman had just moved to the trailer in the past few weeks. Before that they lived for several years in the same apartment building in Gore Bay.

Police block off the rural roads outside of Gore Bay leading to the trailer where Gary Brohman and Constable Marc Hovingh exchanged gunfire on Nov. 19. (Erik White/CBC )

The 76-year-old says his nephew never invited him over, but would never hesitate to help him run errands or fix problems with his computer.

"Anything at all, he would reach out and help, but other than that you never seen him," says Blue.

He says he heard complaints from other tenants of loud noises coming from Brohman's apartment. The sounds of shouting and the punching of walls.

Blue says he had recently been concerned about how much his nephew had been drinking and suggested he go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, which Blue himself has attended in the past.

"But he never talked about anything, never seeked any help. He was going to do it himself. No other way. He didn't want help," Blue says.

"He was quite withdrawn and his way was the only way. He was quite rigid in his thinking."

He says Brohman was born in Kitchener and had a "rough childhood" before doing a short stint in the Canadian military.

Brohman later married, had a daughter, and then three grandchildren, one of whom was killed in a car crash a few years ago.

Blue says he never liked to talk about any of it, but did sometimes talk about his distrust of police officers and his disgust at reports of police brutality and abuses of power.

He says he has lots of questions he is hoping investigators can answer about his nephew's death.

Blue says Brohman never wanted a funeral, so the family won't be holding one.

A private memorial service for Constable Hovingh will be held Saturday afternoon on Manitoulin Island and livestreamed for those who can't attend in person. 

We learned more about Gary Brohman. He's the Manitoulin Island man who was shot and killed along with an OPP officer a week ago in a trailer outside of Gore Bay. Brohman's uncle, Calvin Blue of Gore Bay, spoke to us about the kind of person his nephew was. 6:29

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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