Police radioed to baby ahead of Kawartha Lakes shooting
A recording of police radio conversations shows that officers were informed of the presence of a child in the truck they were chasing through Kawartha Lakes on November 26, 2020, before the shooting that claimed the lives of the boy and his father.
An audio recording of the fatal shooting that claimed the lives of a father and an 18-month-old child in Kawartha Lakes in November 2020 sheds new light on the moments leading up to the shots fired by officers and on what they may have known prior to the interaction.
CBC/Radio-Canada obtained the recording, which is also available on the YouTube account Peterborough Scanner Feed.
Recording of police radio conversations shows officers were made aware of a child in the van they were chasing in the rural area on November 26, 2020. It also reveals that the driver pointed a gun to his head.
The pursuit was launched after a report of a child abduction earlier that day and ended with the shooting deaths of 18-month-old Jameson Shapiro and his 33-year-old father. An Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer was also seriously injured.
Three police officers have been charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death following an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
The recording begins with voices of officers saying they are looking for the father and his rust-colored Toyota Tundra.
Early on, a voice from woman, who appears to be the dispatcher, alerts officers to the fact that a child is in the vehicle.
Units must be notified that there is a child in this vehicle. There's a child in that vehicle, she says.
Moments later, an officer following the van warns another waiting: He's pretty desperate […] He had a gun to his head.
I have a negotiator waiting, said the woman.
About a minute later, the police are heard requesting the reinforcement of a canine unit and a helicopter.
The chase continued along Pigeon Lake Road – the driver was then maintaining a speed of around 170 km/h, officers said – when a voice told them to back up and make way for the suspect vehicle. At this point, the police appear to be guiding the vehicle towards a studded carpet.
Seconds later, a loud crash is heard, followed by moans.
Another person is heard yelling, Put it down!, then, a series of gunshots.
Shots, shots! Officer down, a member of law enforcement shouts.
Another round of loud bangs ensues – it is unclear if this is shots – then there is a silence for a few moments. The next two minutes are mostly silence and garbled sound.
Around 8:25, someone is heard calling for paramedics.
An ambulance is on the way, the dispatcher announces.
CBC has attempted to independently verify the recording and share it with the OPP.
OPP spokesman Bill Dickson said police are aware the audio of the dispatch is online.
It would be inappropriate for me to provide information regarding the injuries sustained by our agent. Full details will be part of the evidence presented in court, Dickson said in an email.
The SIU has previously claimed officers attempted to intercept father's pickup truck when it crashed into an OPP patrol car and another car on Pigeon Lake Road. An officer standing outside the patrol at the time was seriously injured during the incident, according to the SIU, which provided no further details.
Three officers then opened fire, hitting the boy inside the van and his father, according to the independent body.
The boy was pronounced dead on site. His father was taken to hospital and died from his injuries about a week later. He has yet to be officially named by the SIU.
Police said they found four firearms at the scene: three belonging to officers and one picked up near of the father's vehicle.
The SIU said last year it interviewed 18 police officers and 14 civilians as part of its investigation.
On Thursday, the SIU said it would not comment further on the case, as it is now before the courts.
The accused officers are scheduled to appear in court in Lindsay, Ont., on October 6.
With information from Shanifa Nasser, CBC