'Very disturbing': Neighbour says family came to his home for help after baby abducted near Lindsay, Ont.
TORONTO -- A neighbour says he sheltered a frightened woman and her family in his home after she knocked on his door asking for help and afraid for the safety of her one-year-old son allegedly abducted by his father near Lindsay, Ont.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said that officers were called to the municipality of Trent Lakes just before 9 a.m. on Thursday for a domestic dispute involving a firearm. Police said they were aware that a father had allegedly abducted his son.
An OPP officer and the father were seriously injured during the incident, and the boy was left dead with a gunshot wound. Neighbour Tom Deciccio, who recently moved to the area, said the mother and her family got the disturbing news at his home.
“A lady, her mother-in-law, and her little three-year-old came knocking at the door wanting to be let in the house so that they could be safe from someone,” Deciccio told CTV News Toronto.
“It was awful because we found that out about three hours later. It was close to noon before the police came and informed the lady that her young baby had been killed. That was very, very disturbing.”
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), also known as the province's police watchdog, said that when police first heard about the abduction, they managed to locate a vehicle of interest on Sturgeon Road a short time later and attempted to stop it.
The SIU, which in now investigating the incident, said the vehicle then collided with an OPP cruiser and a civilian vehicle on Pigeon Lake Road.
The driver of the vehicle, the 33-year-old father, and police officers became involved in a confrontation following the crash, resulting in three officers discharging their firearms at the man, the SIU said.
Police subsequently apprehended the man, who was then airlifted to a Toronto trauma centre in serious condition and officers found the man’s one-year-old son inside his vehicle with a gunshot wound. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
An OPP officer, who was seriously injured in the collision, was taken to a hospital in Toronto, where he is in stable condition.
“When the family arrived [they said] that the husband was having some sort of an issue and she was afraid he was going to hurt a little baby and he had taken off with the baby in the car,” Deciccio said.
“There's some background to it. I don't know it and I don't want to speculate on it. I just know that they were very upset when they were here and rightfully so.”
Four investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist have been assigned to the case. Three subject officers and 13 witness officers have also been designated.
The agency said two civilian witnesses have been interviewed.
On Friday, the SIU said investigators have collected three police-issued firearms, which will be sent for forensic analysis. The agency added investigators are in the process of taking possession of a handgun that was located in the pickup truck.
The vehicle will also be taken to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for examination, the SIU said.
The agency said Thursday it is too early to say why officers fired at the man. Speaking to CP24 on Thursday night, Chris Lewis, former OPP Commissioner and CTV News public safety analyst, said part of the investigation would ascertain who fired the shot that killed the boy.
"There's so much unknown about this and a lot of that won't be known in the near future because the SIU is investigating the use of force by the OPP officers," Lewis said.
A post-mortem on the child is scheduled for Saturday morning in Toronto, the SIU said.