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