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Police release more details following northern Ont. shelter-in-place incident

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have released new details following a gunfire exchange between two suspects and police Thursday evening that left one man dead and a bystander seriously injured in northern Ontario near the Town of Latchford.

OPP have charged a 23-year-old man from Hamilton, Ont. with various offences as part of their ongoing investigation.

The accused is facing 16 criminal charges following the incident which began on March 7:

  • Attempt to commit murder using a firearm
  • Discharge a firearm into or at a place in a reckless manner
  • Assault peace officer
  • Escape lawful custody
  • Discharge firearm with intent
  • Firearm use while committing an offence
  • Pointing a firearm
  • Assault with a weapon
  • Possession of a firearm or ammunition contrary to prohibition order
  • Possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammo
  • Unauthorized possession of a firearm
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose
  • Being an occupant of a motor vehicle knowing there was a firearm
  • Resist peace officer
  • Flight from a peace officer
  • Dangerous operation of a vehicle

The accused remains in custody pending a court appearance on March 12.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

An on-going investigation

The investigation into the incident continues under the direction of the OPP criminal investigation branch.

One suspect has died and a second is in custody following an incident near Latchford, Ont., Thursday evening, The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has invoked its mandate because someone was killed or injured during an interaction with police. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)OPP officials are asking anyone with information relevant to the ongoing investigation who have not already spoken to police to contact Temiskaming OPP.

“Any person with dash camera video from March 7, 2024, between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. while driving from Kirkland Lake to Latchford via Highway 66 to Highway 11 or made observations involving a light-colored smaller vehicle are encouraged to contact the Temiskaming OPP Detachment at 1-888-310-1122,” said police in a news release Sunday.

The OPP has notified the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) about the incident, which has invoked its mandate because someone was killed or injured during an interaction with police. The police watchdog has assigned three investigators and two forensic investigators to its investigation.

“Any other inquiries should be directed to SIU Communications,” said police.

An undated photo of an Ontario SIU forensic vehicle. (FIle Photo/CTV News)The incident

According to police, OPP officers in Kirkland Lake conducted a traffic stop in the area of Government Road West and Woods Street to arrest two men for drug-related offences at about 5 p.m. on March 7.

The scene near Latchford, Ont., where police ended a shelter-in-place order early Friday morning. (Photo courtesy of Colleen Pender) “The driver fled,” said SIU officials Friday.

“Police attempted to stop the fleeing vehicle in the area of Highway 11 and Portage Bay Road, resulting in an exchange of gunfire.”

Police officials said the other occupant of the vehicle also fled from police.

After the gunfire was exchanged one of the vehicle’s occupants, a 26-year-old man, was found dead.

A 76-year-old bystander and resident of the area was seriously injured by the gunfire. SIU said the area man was not involved in the alleged criminal activity.

“(He) remains in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” said SIU late Friday.

The other occupant of the vehicle fled on foot but triggering police to issue an Ontario Civil Emergency Alert and a shelter-in-place order for the Town of Latchford and the surrounding communities.

Timiskaming Ontario Provincial Police issued an emergency alert residents in the area of Latchford Township shortly before 7:30 p.m. on March 7, 2024. (Lydia Chubak/CTV News Northern Ontario)Police closed Highway 11 from Temagami, Ont., to Moose Lake Road North in Coleman Township.

The OPP advised the public of their investigation in the area involving a suspect in the area who was believed to be “armed and dangerous.”

Police described the suspect as a 30-year-old five-foot 11-inch tall, 180-pound male of Middle Eastern descent with medium-length hair and an athletic build dressed in black and warned the public not to approach if seen.

“If seen, call 911 immediately and do not approach,” said police Thursday evening.

After a manhunt that lasted several hours the suspect, actually a 23-year-old southern Ontario man, was found by police and arrested without injury.

Drone footage of the scene near Latchford, Ont., Thursday night. (Courtesy of Ty Olson)Highway 11 remained closed from Portage Bay Road to Highway 11B while until approximately 9:30 p.m. during the initial investigation.

Police closed Highway 11 from Portage Bay Road to Highway 11B for investigation. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)Police watchdog called in

The province’s independent police watchdog, the SIU was contacted because someone was killed or injured during an interaction with police.

The SIU said a post-mortem on the suspect who was killed in the gunfire exchange is scheduled for Monday.

The SIU is also asking anyone who may have information about the incident to contact their investigators at 1-800-787-8529 or submit evidence including statements, photos and/or video and other details online.

– With files from CTVNorthernOntario.ca journalists Darren MacDonald and Eric Taschner

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