Updated Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.
The province’s Special Investigations Unit has provided an update on the circumstances that led to the deaths of an OPP officer and a 60-year-old man on Manitoulin Island Thursday.
The SIU said that preliminary information indicates that on Nov. 19, two OPP officers visited a property on Hindman Trail in Gore Bay after the property owner reported the presence of an unwanted man.
Soon after arriving, officers located the man — who was inside a trailer — and there was "an interaction."
At around 11 a.m., there was an exchange of gunfire between Const. Marc Hovingh and the man, resulting in both men being shot.
They were transported to hospital where both succumbed to their injuries.
Three investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the case, said the SIU. Post-mortems are scheduled for tomorrow morning in Toronto. The other officer on scene did not sustain any injuries.
The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about this investigation to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529.
The unit is also urging anyone who may have any video evidence related to this incident to upload that video through the SIU website.
Manitoulin Island communities are in shock today following the shooting death of a 28-year veteran of the Ontario Provincial Police and a member of the Gore Bay detachment.
Const. Marc Hovingh, 52, died after he was shot while investigating a call about an unwanted man on a property in Gore Bay. There are no funeral arrangements at this time.
The suspect was also shot and was transported to hospital, where he died. His identity has not yet been released.
The incident is now under investigation by the Special Investigations Unit, which investigates in circumstances when police officers are involved in incidents where someone has been seriously injured, dies or alleges sexual assault
A SIU spokesperson said preliminary information indicates at about 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, someone contacted provincial police to report an unwanted man on a property in Gore Bay.
Soon after arriving, officers encountered a man and an interaction ensued. As a result of that interaction, Hovingh sustained a fatal gunshot wound.
Only one officer was injured in the incident, despite early reports that indicated two officers were injured, said the OPP.
The SIU has dispatched three investigators and two forensic investigators to Gore Bay.
SIU investigating fatal shooting on Manitoulin Island, resulting in death of OPP officer and civilian. Spokesperson Monica Hudon: pic.twitter.com/SKjwea26oz— SIU (@SIUOntario) November 19, 2020
Meanwhile, many Island communities, as well as the City of Greater Sudbury, have lowered their flags to half-staff out of respect for the fallen officer. Sudbury.com has been unsuccessful in getting a hold of Gore Bay mayor Dan Osborne, but he told the Canadian Press that the loss is “devastating.” The Township of Assiginack is showing its support for the Hovingh family. “
We know the community is mourning the loss of Marc Hovingh and want to show their support to the Hovingh family,” said a Facebook post. Each day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., a blue box will be set outside the Assiginack arena on a table in the parking lot for anyone wanting to drop off a card or note of condolence. The cards will be given to the Hovingh family.
Hovingh’s death has echoed across the entire province, with many police services paying tribute and lowering their own flags to half staff.
Premier Doug Ford said in a tweet he’s deeply saddened by the death, and that the flags at Queen’s Park are being lowered out of respect for Hovingh and his family. “My thoughts are with all the brave men and women on the frontlines who put their lives on the line every day to keep our community safe,” Ford said in his tweet.
My statement on the shooting in Manitoulin Island pic.twitter.com/LHryeyZoxv— Doug Ford (@fordnation) November 19, 2020
Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha said on social media the tight-knit community of Manitoulin Island is devastated at the tragic loss. “On Manitoulin Island, OPP officers are our friends and our neighbours,” Mantha said in a Facebook post. “On duty and off, they play an active role in Manitoulin life. We will be forever changed by the devastating loss of one of our own.
Manitoulin is also strong, and I have faith that we will come together to grieve and to heal, to support Const. Hovingh’s loved ones, and to remember a hero gone too soon.”
Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger expressed his sadness of the fatal shooting through Twitter: “I am truly saddened by the tragic events that took place yesterday in Gore Bay and on behalf of Council and @GreaterSudbury I extend our deepest condolences to PC Hovingh's family.” Flags will be lowered at Tom Davies Square to honour the officer who was killed in the line of duty.
The SIU will be releasing more information as it becomes available and is urging anyone who may have information about this investigation to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. The unit is also urging anyone who may have any video evidence related to this incident to upload that video through the SIU website.