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OPP officer charged in shooting death after SIU investigation

A Chatham-Kent OPP officer has been charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death following a fatal shooting in July 2021.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says it has reasonable grounds to believe Const. Sean O'Rourke committed criminal offences in relation to the death of 24-year-old man.

The incident began around 4:30 a.m. on July 7, 2021 when OPP officers responded for reports of a gas theft from a local station.

Police spotted the suspect vehicle, following it westbound on Highway 401, when the car lost control and rolled into the centre ditch near Highgate, Ont.

The SIU says during an interaction with the suspect in the vehicle, an officer discharged his firearm. The driver was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.

The investigation into the death shut down Highway 401 in both directions for hours, causing long delays.

O'Rourke was arrested Friday and then released on an undertaking with conditions.

He is next scheduled to appear in a Chatham court on Feb. 16.

OPP Association President Rob Stinson released a statement late Friday saying they supported O'Rourke and other officers at the scene that night.

He added that their members have cooperated with the SIU and called the event itself "tragic," and encouraged members in need of support to reach out.

"Our lawyers will vigorously defend the actions of our officer in a court of law. The upcoming judicial process will be long and stressful for all impacted and we urge all OPPA Members who are impacted by this incident to reach out for professional and or peer mental health supports.” Top Stories

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