Jun 23 2011
LINDSAY, Ont. - An exchange of gunfire during a raid on an apparent crack house has left a central Ontario police officer recovering in a Toronto hospital and another man dead.
Const. Keith Calderwood, who was shot while executing a drug warrant Wednesday morning in Lindsay, Ont., is in stable condition at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital.
Calderwood, 37, is a seven-year veteran of the Peterborough police force and a father of three.
"This was a bad day for our service,'' Peterborough police chief Murray Rodd said at a news conference in Lindsay. "We're very thankful our member is in stable condition.''
The shooting happened at around 11:20 a.m. as Kawartha Lakes police and Peterborough Lakefield Police Service were conducting a criminal investigation at an apartment on Georgian Street, near Melbourne Street.
Five people have been taken into custody and the coroner has been called in. The Special Investigations Unit dispatched a team of 10 investigators to probe the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Police officials from Lindsay and Peterborough wouldn't provide many details of the drug raid or the man who was shot and killed because it's in the hands of the SIU, but neighbours said the home was a drug den.
"It is definitely a crack house,'' said resident Brenda Bradshaw, 52. "You see stuff happening in and out of there all the time, and the riff-raff coming in at all hours of the night. A lot of drugs happening over there.''
Another neighbour who lives in the public housing complex across the street said he heard four to six shots fired after police officers swarmed the home.
Rodd said the incident is another example of the dangers police officers face on a daily basis.
"This is every community right now basically in Ontario,'' he said. "It's a difficult and dangerous job our members do every day in every community. And this isn't a Toronto issue, this is an Ontario issue, this is a Canadian issue. It's a dangerous job.''
Rodd said he and Calderwood's wife were able to speak to the officer before he was airlifted to Toronto's downtown island airport from Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay.
"He was in good spirits, he was certainly relieved to see his wife before he got on that helicopter,'' said Rodd. "And we had a member with him on the entire route on the helicopter. He was conscious and in significant discomfort.''
Toronto police escorted the ambulance carrying Calderwood from the airport to St. Michael's where his family joined him at his bedside. Provincial police escorted Calderwood's wife from Peterborough to Toronto.
Calderwood is well known in his community for the charity work he does, including volunteering as a Big Brother and participating in the Pedal for Hope cycling tour, which raises money for kids with cancer.
"He's very family, very community oriented,'' said Rodd. "He's there to help any time he's called upon.''
Mike Melnik, a local radio announcer for KRUZ FM, has worked with Calderwood on Pedal for Hope for seven years.
"He's very friendly,'' Melnik said. "He's humorous. We always give him a hard time because he's the guy who's always mugging for the camera and does a very good job at it. Just a lovable guy, a big teddy bear.''
Neighbours said they weren't surprised by the incident. Angela, 41, who didn't want to give her last name, has lived in the area since she was nine and said things have become worse in the last seven years.
"Crack is one of the biggest things in this town right now,'' she said.
A post-mortem was underway Thursday on the man killed. Frank Phillips with the SIU says the deceased man's name isn't being released yet.
Meanwhile Kawartha Lakes Police say four of the five people who were taken into custody during the raid have been released from custody without charges.
Jennifer Nicholson, 39, of Bowmanville, is charged with one count of breach of recognizance and is scheduled to appear in bail court today.