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Ontario Provincial Police officer charged with manslaughter in shooting death

CHATHAM, Ont. — Ontario's police watchdog has charged an officer with manslaughter and negligence following the shooting death of a man last summer.

The Special Investigations Unit says officers with the Chatham-Kent detachment of the provincial police force were following a vehicle believed to have been involved in gasoline theft on July 7.

The arm's-length agency says the vehicle ended up in the ditch dividing the lanes of Highway 401.

When one of the officers approached the vehicle, the SIU says, "his firearm discharged" and shot the driver.

The 24-year-old man died in hospital.

Const. Sean O’Rourke was charged with one count of manslaughter and one of criminal negligence causing death, and is due in court next month.

The union that represents OPP officers says it supports O'Rourke, along with the other officers "who acted in the good faith performance of their duties on the night of July 7, 2021."

The Ontario Provincial Police Association says its lawyers will "vigorously" defend O'Rourke in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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