Skip to content

ONTARIO: SIU clears officers who fatally shot man after mask 'rampage' in Minden

SIU report says man 'pummeled' store employee, assaulted second employee, rammed car into carts and building and was later killed by OPP at his rural home
haliburton siu gun used by hegedus
The province's Special Investigations Unit says a man used this rifle to shoot at police before being killed by multiple shots from a pair of OPP officers last summer near Minden.

The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has cleared two OPP officers who fatally shot an elderly man last summer following an exchange of gunfire in Haliburton County.

According to the SIU report, Leslie Hegedus was at the Valu Mart in Minden on July 15, 2020 when he became upset with the store's COVID-19 policy requiring people to wear a mask.

"Upon being reminded by a store associate of the need to (wear a mask), an angry Mr. Hegedus indicated he would not do so and started pummeling the employee," notes the SIU report. 

"A fellow associate came to assist her colleague and was, in turn, assaulted by Mr. Hegedus. She was ultimately able to force Mr. Hegedus out of the store. However, Mr. Hegedus’ rampage was not over," noted the SIU report.

Hegedus reportedly got in his black Alfa Romeo and "drove at store employees gathered outside." His vehicle also struck the exterior of the store and several shopping carts before it travelled onto Highway 35 and proceeded northward.

The police were called and advised of what had transpired. An OPP officer initiated a pursuit but it was called off by the communications centre, notes the SIU report, released today.

A query was conducted on the licence plate of the vehicle that Hegedus was driving, and it linked to a residence located on Indian Point Road, Haliburton Highland.

When police officers approached the residence, two shots were fired at them, however, no police officers were struck.

The scene was contained, and a Critical Incident Command was set up. Tactical Response Unit (TRU) police officers eventually attended.

Two emergency response team officers "discharged their firearms, striking Mr. Hegedus in the lower right extremity," notes the SIU report.

The report says Hegedus, "attired in camouflage and hiding in thick bush north of his residence" suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The wounds were inflicted after two officers "each discharged his C8 rifle repeatedly at Mr. Hegedus from a distance of about 20 metres. The officers were returning fire," the report explains. 

According to the SIU report, just before the first of the officer's shots, Hegedus had fired in the officer's direction with a .223 calibre rifle.

The 73-year-old man was taken to the Haliburton Highland Health Services Hospital via ambulance, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The Director of the SIU, Joseph Martino, has concluded "there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either (officer) acted other than lawfully throughout this incident."

As a result, he has ruled there is "no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed."

The SIU is automatically called in to investigate reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

To read the full SIU report, click here.

Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
Read more