Almost 1 year after Ontario police shot baby, father, watchdog agency gets FBI report, but offers no answers
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit says it has received forensic ballistic testing conducted by the FBI
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says it has received testing results that it was waiting on from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) linked to a high-profile case where a baby boy and his father were fatally shot by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) — but nearly a year on from the shooting, the agency has made no conclusions.
The news comes about eight months following the SIU announcement that both the 33-year-old father and his one-year-old son died in Kawartha Lakes as a result of police gunfire, after OPP officers were reportedly told the man had abducted the baby from the area of Trent Lakes.
"The SIU recognizes the one-year anniversary of this case is approaching and is moving as quickly as it can to bring the investigation to resolution," the police watchdog said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Early information indicated police were called at approximately 8:45 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2020, about the alleged abduction, according to the SIU.
Not long after, police located a pickup truck identified as a "vehicle of interest" on Sturgeon Road in Kawartha Lakes.
Officers tried to intercept the truck, but it crashed into an OPP cruiser as well as another car on Pigeon Lake Road. One officer who was standing outside the cruiser at the time was seriously hurt in the process, the SIU said.
Three officers then opened fire, striking the one-year-old boy inside the truck as well as his father.
The boy was pronounced dead at the scene. His father was taken to hospital in grave condition and died of his injuries about a week later.
Officers have not agreed to be interviewed, SIU says
To date, the SIU has not released the name of the boy or his father, nor indicated why police opened fire on a vehicle if an allegedly abducted baby might have been inside.
SIU spokesperson Kristy Denette told CBC News Tuesday that the officers involved in the case "have not agreed to be interviewed."
Under Ontario law, subject officers — like anyone suspected of a crime — have the right to remain silent and cannot be compelled to speak to the SIU, despite calls for police officers to be held to a higher standard given their duty to protect.
"While the SIU has requested statements via the letter sent to designate them as subject officers, none of the officers have to date stepped forward to provide a statement, as is their legal right," Denette said in an email.
In the months since the shooting, little information had been released about the incident, with the SIU calling for patience as it works through the investigation.
Agency reviewing FBI report
In August, the SIU said the investigation was in a "hold pattern" while awaiting the results of forensic ballistic testing by the FBI.
The agency now says it has received those results, but offered no information about them Tuesday.
"The SIU is reviewing the FBI's forensic report and continues to actively investigate this tragic case," the news release reads.
"The SIU understands the public interest in the results; however, as is our process with all ongoing SIU cases, the Unit does not release details that could jeopardize the integrity of the investigation."
As part of the investigation, four investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist were assigned to the case. At least 14 police officers and 12 civilian witnesses were interviewed.