Man who killed Ontario police officer had arsenal of guns and bombs, SIU probe finds
The 60-year-old man, who killed an officer last fall and was killed in a shooting on Manitoulin Island, had an arsenal of weapons and homemade bombs, according to Ontario police officers.
The Special Investigations Unit cleared the police of any wrongdoing in the November 19, 2020 shooting that left Const. Marc Hovingh and Gary Brohman dead.
The unit found that they died of injuries when they shot each other in Brohman’s trailer in Gore Bay, Ont.
According to the SIU report released on Friday, Hovingh was called into the woods after a complaint about a man crouched on someone else’s property.
The officer had been on the property the day before to investigate a recently destroyed lane and a trailer on a landowner’s property, but no one was around.
Later that day, the owner returned to find Brohman, who falsely claimed a legal right to the land, the report said. The owner had asked Brohman to disappear from his land the next day.
Hovingh returned around 10 a.m. with another officer and the landowner to make sure Brohman would leave.
He told officials he was entitled to the land.
Brohman also said there was nowhere to go.
“Mr Brohman opened the door of his trailer to officials claiming he had to vacate the land and again claimed he had a legal right to be there,” the SIU report said.
The landowner offered Brohman to fetch his mud-stuck trailer from the country the next day.
Hovingh grew suspicious after noticing about 20 propane tanks on the property, the SIU said.
Hovingh then found a clearing in the forest that was used for marijuana plants. He and another officer estimated that marijuana contained approximately $ 100,000 worth of marijuana.
The landowner wanted Brohman removed from the property immediately and police agreed, the SIU said.
Around 11 a.m., Hovingh knocked on the door of Brohman’s trailer, but the man refused to leave. The officer then grabbed a shovel from Brohman’s truck and tried to pry open the door. When that didn’t work, the landowner gave officials an ax that was used to break open the door, the SIU said.
The second officer, who is not mentioned in the report, entered the trailer with the stun gun drawn.
“Go away, I won’t go through this again,” Brohman said to the officer.
With no luck, that officer left the trailer and Hovingh entered as Brohman turned to the bedroom.
“When he turned back, he was pointing a shotgun in the direction of Const. Hovingh,” said the SIU.
“Mr. Brohman fired three rounds from his shotgun. Const. Hovingh quickly returned fire and shot seven rapid rounds from his 9mm semi-automatic pistol.”
The second officer, the landowner, and his son quickly withdrew.
“Shots fired, shots fired, I need help now!” said the second officer in a call for assistance.
The landowner told his son to go home and get more guns. He returned and the three pointed their guns at the trailer in case Brohman should leave, the SIU said.
Shortly afterwards, UCCM Anishnaabe police officers arrived and everyone was waiting for OPP tacticians, who arrived around 12:30 pm about 90 minutes later
Officers entered the trailer and began life-saving interventions with paramedics on both Hovingh and Brohman, the SIU said.
Hovingh and Brohman were both pronounced dead in the hospital.
Hovingh died after being shot twice in his left thigh at close range. Brohman died of gunshot wounds to the head.
“Mr Brohman must have known his arrest was inevitable and he pretended he had nothing more to lose,” said the SIU.
“In this recording it is quite possible that Const. Hovingh’s actions were designed to prevent what could have been a continuing risk to the life and limbs of others around him.”
A witness warned police that afternoon that the area was booby-trapped with pipe bombs and propane tank bombs.
The SIU did not fault the other officers, who only entered the caravan after the tactical team had arrived.
“As far as they knew, (Brohman) could easily have been lying in wait in the trailer, which can still cause serious injury or death,” the SIU said.
“In this context, it is significant that forensic analysis of the scene following an incident led to the discovery of dozens of improvised explosives and incendiary materials on the property, as well as numerous firearms in the trailer.”
This Canadian press report was first published on March 27, 2021.