KAWARTHA LAKES-The provinces Special Investigations Unit has charged three Ontario Provincial Police officers with criminal offences in relation to the death of 18-month-old Jameson Shapiro in November 2020 in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
OPP Constables Nathan Vanderheyden, Kenneth Pengelly and Grayson Cappus have each been charged with one count of manslaughter, contrary to s. 236(a) of the Criminal Code. They are each also charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death, contrary to s. 220(a) of the Criminal Code. All charges are in relation to the death of Jameson.
“The matter is now properly before the courts. In consideration of the fair trial interests of the accused, the SIU will make no further comment pertaining to this investigation.” said the SIU.
At approximately 8:45 a.m., on November 26th the OPP responded to abduction of a child by his father in the Municipality of Trent Lakes. The OPP located a vehicle of interest in the City of Kawartha Lakes on Sturgeon Road a short time later. Officers attempted to stop the truck with the father and child inside. The truck became involved in a collision with an OPP cruiser and a civilian vehicle on Pigeon Lake Road. At that time, an OPP officer was standing outside of the cruiser and he sustained serious injuries. There was an interaction between the 33-year-old father and officers, and three officers discharged their firearms. Both the father and son were shot and died of their injuries.
The OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique released a statement on the charges this afternoon.
“On November 26, 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.”Carrique stated. “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.”
The following is a statement from Rob Stinson, President of the OPP Association:
“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 that 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.”
The officers will be required to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at 440 Kent Street West in Lindsay on October 6, 2022.
This story has been updated with statements from the OPP Commissioner and the OPP Association.