top of page

SIU issuing charges against three officers in Kawartha Lakes shooting

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is laying charges against three Ontario Provincial Police Officers, following the shooting death of a father and his one-year-old son in Kawartha Lakes in November 2020.

Constables Nathan Vanderheyden, Kenneth Pengelly and Grayson Cappus are each being charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of criminal negligence causing death following the incident. The SIU announced the charges, on Wednesday, August 31st.

In a November 2020 press release, the SIU explained, the incident occurred when the OPP was notified “a father had abducted his son from the Municipality of Trent Lakes.”

“A short time later, the OPP located a vehicle of interest, a pickup truck, in the City of Kawartha Lakes, on Sturgeon Road. Officers attempted to stop the truck. On Pigeon Lake Road, the truck became involved in a collision with an OPP cruiser and a civilian vehicle. At that time, an OPP officer was standing outside of the cruiser, and he sustained serious injuries. An interaction ensued between the 33-year-old vehicle driver and officers, and three officers discharged their firearms. The man was struck and airlifted to the hospital in grave condition. Inside the pickup truck was a one-year-old boy. He had sustained a gunshot wound and was pronounced deceased at the scene,” the press release added.

The father later died from his injuries. In February 2021, the SIU concluded the child’s death was due to police gunfire.

“Upon receipt and review of additional forensic evidence in this case, including the results of the postmortem examination performed on a child and reports, prepared by the Centre of Forensic Sciences, of analyses conducted with respect to bloodstains in the pickup truck, the trajectory of shots which struck the truck, and firearms, cartridge cases and projectiles, the SIU can today confirm the child’s death, on November 26th, 2020 in Kawartha Lakes, was the result of being shot by police,” a press release stated.

The three officers are expected to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Lindsay, on October 6th.

“This incident is a tragic circumstance for all involved. We are fully supporting our members charged and our officers and civilian staff affected, with some still off work. It has impacted many people, families, first responders, and our members. Every single day, police officers make split-second decisions most will never have to make and wouldn’t want to make. This case is now before the courts. Everyone is entitled to due process. Our members have cooperated with the investigation in accordance with the law,” read a statement from OPP Association President Rob Stinson, following the announcement of the charges.

On Twitter, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique posted a statement about the SIU decision.

“On November 26th, 2020, a family suffered the tremendous loss of their child, and the Ontario Provincial Police extends to them our deepest sympathies. Our mission is to protect our citizens, uphold the law and preserve public safety. When a tragedy such as this occurs, it affects the families, the community and our whole service. It is devastating when an innocent life is lost during an incident. We thank members of the public who awaited the findings of the SIU, rather than speculating on what occurred. We respect the mandate and responsibilities of the SIU, and will not comment further as this matter proceeds through the appropriate court processes.”

1 view0 comments
bottom of page