A long-time Ontario provincial police officer was killed Thursday in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in the tight-knit community of Manitoulin Island along Georgian Bay.
The officer has been identified as Const. Marc Hovingh, who had been a member of the service for 28 years and worked out of the Little Current detachment.
The officer had been called to investigate an “unwanted man” on a property in Gore Bay early Thursday afternoon, the province’s police watchdog said.
With great sadness I advise that PC Marc Hovingh, a 28 year veteran of the #OPP, has succumbed to his injuries sustained while bravely serving in the line of duty. Our hearts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this tragic time #HeroesInLife pic.twitter.com/9cVsYhUqcv
— Thomas Carrique (@OPPCommissioner) November 19, 2020
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is now investigating the incident. In a statement, the SIU said police received a call at around 12:30 p.m. for an unwanted person on a property.
“Soon after officers arrived on the scene they encountered the man and there was an interaction,” explained SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon.
“As a result of that interaction, one OPP officer sustained a fatal gunshot wound. The man (civilian) was also shot and he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”
There’s no word on the identity of the deceased civilian.
Initial reports suggested a second officer was shot as well, but officials now say that’s not the case.
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
Premier Doug Ford has issued a statement offering his condolences, saying he was “deeply saddened to learn of the death of Provincial Constable Marc Hovingh who was shot and killed in the line of duty…”
“Our government has requested that the flags at Queen’s Park be lowered out of respect for the fallen and their family who are grieving at this very difficult time.”
“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 communities safe.”
The news quickly made its way through the small island community, said Dan Osborne, mayor of Gore Bay one of several towns on the island.
He said he heard the sirens blaring early in the afternoon.
“We’re a large island, but we are small in numbers,” he said. “Everybody knows everyone, and it’s pretty devastating.”
Michael Mantha, who represents Manitoulin Island in the provincial legislature, said OPP officers are an important part of the community.
“The tight-knit community of Manitoulin Island is devastated at the tragic loss of Constable Marc Hovingh,” he said. “…We will be forever changed by the devastating loss of one of our own.”