Blue Line

Charges against OPP officers dropped in child’s shooting death: police association

March 25, 2024  By Jordan Omstead, The Canadian Press

Mar. 25, 2024, Oshawa, Ont. – Charges have been dropped against three Ontario Provincial Police officers who had been accused in the fatal shooting of an 18-month-old boy during a child abduction investigation, the police union said Monday.

In a written statement, Ontario Provincial Police Association president John Cerasuolo called it a correct and just decision.

“In this case it has been determined that on the totality of the evidence there was no reasonable prospect of conviction,” Cerasuolo said. “Our officers were doing their job according to their training.”

The three constables were charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death with a firearm in the death of 18-month-old Jameson Shapiro after a lengthy investigation by the province’s police watchdog into what happened on Nov. 26, 2020.


The Special Investigations Unit had said officers opened fire on Jameson’s father’s pickup truck with the child inside after the truck crashed into a police cruiser and injured an officer who was laying down a spike belt.

The SIU had said the truck was stopped by officers investigating reports that a father had abducted his son. Investigators recovered a pistol inside the pickup truck.

The agency had said evidence suggested police gunfire killed both Jameson and his 33-year-old father, but charges were only brought against the officers in Jameson’s death.

In a written statement on Monday, an SIU spokesperson said the Crown’s decision to drop the charges was based on information not in the agency’s possession during its investigation: the officers’ hand-written notes about the incident.

The officers did not agree to be interviewed by the agency or authorize the release of their notes, as was their right, SIU spokesperson Monica Hudson wrote in an email.

“The SIU respects the Crown’s decision and will make no further comment on the case,” she said.

Charges were brought against Nathan Vanderheyden, Kenneth Pengelly and Grayson Cappus almost two years after the incident. The SIU attributed the delay in part to the time it took to get the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s forensic test results on some of the ballistic evidence.

The SIU has previously said it interviewed at least 18 witness officers and 14 civilian witnesses during its investigation.

A Crown prosecutor, reached by email on Monday, declined to provide further comment beyond what was presented in court.

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