“Units be advised there’s a child in that vehicle. There’s a child in that vehicle.”
As TFTP reported at the time, a tragedy unfolded for a family on Thanksgiving 2020 that started with an estranged father taking his one-year-old baby son and ended with that father and son shot to death.
Now, nearly two years later and the officers responsible for filling a baby and his father with bullets, have all been charged. Officers Nathan Vanderheyden, Kenneth Pengelly and Grayson Cappus have been charged with one count of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death for their roles in the deaths of 18-month-old Jameson Shapiro and his father.
The incident began when officers were alerted about an alleged domestic dispute in Kawartha Lakes in Ontario. According to police, the dispute involved a firearm and the abduction of the one-year-old baby by his father.
A resident told local news that after the abduction, the woman, her son and a therapist knocked on his door looking for shelter.
“Some people came to the house and wanted in, for a safe haven, and there was something about the husband had left with the little baby,” said Tom Deciccio.
When police located the father on a rural country road, all hell broke loose when his truck collided with another vehicle and a police vehicle.
A day after the charges were announced against the officers, Shawn Salo, a freelance journalist who runs the site Peterborough Scanner Feed, posted audio of the dispatch call. The call proves that cops knew there was a baby in the vehicle before opening fire on it.
“Units be advised there’s a child in that vehicle. There’s a child in that vehicle,” dispatch says over the recording.
“He’s pretty desperate … he had a gun to his head,” an officer says.
“I’ve got a negotiator on standby,” the dispatcher says.
That negotiator would never come, however. After the crash, officers opened fire on truck, claiming they saw a gun.
“I hope by releasing this recording it helps you understand the situation a little better,” Salo wrote upon posting the 12-minute recording to YouTube.
According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates instances when police officers in Ontario kill, seriously injure or sexually assault someone, the incident unfolded as follows:
- At approximately 8:45 a.m. on November 26, 2020, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) was made aware that a father had abducted his son from the Municipality of Trent Lakes.
- A short time later, the OPP located a vehicle of interest – a pickup truck – in the City of Kawartha Lakes on Sturgeon Road. Officers attempted to stop the truck.
- On Pigeon Lake Road, the truck became involved in a collision with an OPP cruiser and a civilian vehicle. At that time, an OPP officer was standing outside of the cruiser and he sustained serious injuries.
- An interaction ensued between the 33-year-old vehicle driver and officers, and three officers discharged their firearms. The man was struck and airlifted to the hospital in grave condition.
- Inside the pickup truck was a one-year-old boy. He had sustained a gunshot wound and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Andy Letham, the mayor of Kawartha Lakes, told the National Post the community was shocked. With everyone already on edge because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this tragic event added an extra layer of distress to his rural community, he said.
“In a small community like this, it certainly caught everybody off guard.”
When looking at the photo of the crash scene it appears that the truck was completely immobilized and could not pose a threat to anyone after the collision. So the reason police opened fire remains unclear. However, all three officers fired into the truck, meaning they all perceived the same threat — whether it was real or not.
The officers are expected back in court on Oct. 6. Below is the audio recording.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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