Three officers who are part of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have been charged on Wednesday with manslaughter related to the November 2020 death of an 18-month-old baby and his father who were both allegedly killed at a police roadblock.

OPP Constables Nathan Vanderheyden, Kenneth Pengelly and Grason Cappus have been charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence due to the shooting incident that caused the death of 18-month-old baby Jameson Shapiro and his 33-year-old father, according to the Peterborough Examiner.

The three officers were part of the team that was there to apprehend Shapiro’s father, who was reported to the police to have abducted the child. In an attempt to avoid apprehension, the father crashed his car into a police cruiser, which reportedly hit OPP officer Chris Dobbs as he was laying down spikes on the road, the New York Post reported.

After an interaction with the father, the three officers opened fire on the vehicle, and allegedly fatally hit Shapiro and his dad, killing them both. A handgun was found in the vehicle, though it is unclear if it was used against the officers. Later on, the Special Investigations Unit confirmed that it was OPP bullets that ended up killing Shapiro and his father.

While extending their deepest sympathies to the family of the victim, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique promised not to meddle with the court proceedings and thanked the public for awaiting the end of the SIU’s investigation.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Meanwhile, though he acknowledged the tragic events that had occurred, OPP Association President Ron Stinson said that their organization will be backing the three officers as the case goes to trial.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The three officers are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 6.

Three officers from the Ontario Provincial Police have been charged with manslaughter on Wednesday after allegedly shooting and killing an 18-month-old child who was abducted by his father. This is a representational image. K A D M I E L/Unsplash.

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