Man killed in police shooting in Fergus; OPP officer seriously injured

FERGUS – A man is dead and an OPP officer was seriously injured following a domestic disturbance call on Aug. 15.

According to a press release from the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Wellington County OPP responded to a Belsyde Avenue residence at around 11am on Sunday.

Police negotiated with a 31-year-old man until 1:38pm, when officers had an “interaction” with him, states the SIU release.

The man, whose family has identified in media reports as Mathias Bunyan, was shot by police and pronounced dead at the scene.

An OPP officer was transported to hospital with what the SIU described as serious injuries. Initial reports suggest the officer suffered a wound from a sharp object, possibly a knife.

The officer’s condition is not presently known.

Wellington OPP referred the Advertiser’s inquiry on the officer’s condition to the SIU, which responded by saying it did not have information.

The only indication of the officer’s condition could be gleaned from a Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) tweet posted on Aug. 16 which read, “We are supporting our officer who is in stable condition in hospital.”

OPPA spokesperson Josh Jutras stated in an email to the Advertiser that the association wouldn’t be commenting on specifics given the SIU investigation.

“My information is that the officer is recovering from their injuries but I am unable to pass along any further information on their status or the nature of their injuries,” Jutras stated.

Centre Wellington Fire Rescue Services deputy chief Jonathan Karn confirmed the service was at the scene on Sunday afternoon providing medical support, but declined to comment further.

Officials from Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service also declined to comment pending an official statement from the OPP.

In an Aug. 17 phone call with the Advertiser, Wellington OPP media staffer Josh Cunningham said the SIU is taking the lead on the investigation and declined to comment.

“We’re going to let them investigate and do what they need to do,” he said.

The SIU has assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to the case.

SIU communications staffer Kristy Denette told the Advertiser in an email that based on preliminary information, police discharged a “conductive energy weapon” before firing a gun. She noted Bunyan was “armed with two knives.”

The Special Investigations Unit Act, which dictates how the civilian agency operates and recently came into effect last December, requires a decision on police conduct and a public report from agency director Joseph Martino within 120 days of an investigation being launched.  The latest day a public report would be expected is Dec. 13, 2021.

The lead SIU investigator will interview witnesses, develop an investigative plan and prepare a report for Martino.

According to Denette, forensic investigators with expertise in blood stain spatter analysis and firearm analysis provide technical advice and assist other investigators with physical evidence they’ve gathered at the scene.

The post-mortem autopsy for Bunyan was scheduled for the morning of Aug. 17, Denette said, and an SIU investigator will have recorded the autopsy process.

Denette said the investigation is in its early stages and will be ongoing.

The SIU is an independent government agency which investigates police conduct that results in death, serious injury, sexual assault and shootings at a person.