A provincial police crisis response unit was rightfully checking on a

38-year-old suicidal man’s well-being last fall at Lac Seul First

Nation, when a shotgun hidden under a bed blanket went off, killing him

instantly, Ontario’s police watchdog has determined.

In a report about the Nov. 19 incident, the Special Investigations Unit

cleared the OPP officers of any wrongdoing, saying they entered a

Kejick Bay home only after several hours had passed without being able

to make contact with the man by telephone or bullhorn.

“Police officers were clearly carrying out their lawful duties in

attending and attempting to convince the (man) to abandon his weapon

and his intent to take his own life,” SIU director Joseph Martino said

in the report.

The unidentified man had barricaded himself inside a bedroom the day

before, telling his girlfriend — who fled the scene fearing for her

safety — that he was going to kill himself, the report said.

Police made the deciion to enter the house “fearing that the (man) may

have already done himself harm, (and) was still alive,” Martino wrote.

The blanket covering the man had been up and over his shoulders,

completely obscuring the shotgun from view, the report said.

When police accompanied by a police dog entered the bedroom and

attempted to rouse the man by telling him to show his hands, the

shotgun went off, wounding him in the neck, the report said.

A civilian agency, the SIU investigates when someone dies, is seriously

injured, or there are allegations of sexual assault when police are

involved.

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