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SIU charges police officer in shooting death of 24-year-old man in Chatham-Kent, Ont.

An Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer is facing charges following an Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigation into a fatal shooting this summer.

Constable Sean O'Rourke facing 2 charges under the criminal code

According to the SIU, officer Sean O'Rourke was arrested by members of the service today and subsequently released on an undertaking with conditions. (Yvon Theriault/CBC)

A Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer is facing charges following an Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigation into a fatal shooting in Chatham-Kent last summer.

The investigation found that on July 7, 2021, OPP responded to a call about a gasoline theft. Officers located the vehicle believed to be involved travelling westbound on Highway 401 and followed it.

According to the SIU, the vehicle ended up in the ditch dividing the highway. One of the officers approached the vehicle, and his firearm discharged and shot the driver.

The man later died in hospital.

In a media release issued Friday, the organization said SIU Director Joseph Martino has reasonable grounds to believe that an OPP officer committed criminal offences in relation to the shooting death of the 24-year-old man.

As a result OPP Const. Sean O'Rourke has been charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of criminal negligence causing death.

According to the SIU, O'Rourke was arrested by members of the agency Friday and later released on conditions.

He is required to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Chatham on Feb. 16.

The OPP Association, the union representing officers, released a statement in response to the SIU investigation Friday.

Association President Rob Stinson expressed support for O'Rourke, and all members involved in the incident.

"Our members have co-operated as mandated by law with the investigation led by the Special Investigations Unit.  It was an absolutely tragic event. Our lawyers will vigorously defend the actions of our officer in a court of law," said Stinson.

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