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Ontario's police watchdog called in after man, 73, fatally shot following dispute over wearing mask in store

Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after officers fatally shot a 73-year-old man in Haliburton County on Wednesday morning. 

The man had refused to wear a mask and assaulted a grocery store employee before driving away, provincial police say.

Police were called to a Valu-Mart in Minden, Ont., just after 8 a.m., OPP Sgt. Jason Folz said. 

Officers tried to stop the suspect's car, but they refrained "in the interest of public safety" before doing a follow-up investigation, Folz said.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said the man drove away, and an officer saw the car and started following it for a short while. Based on the licence plate, officers made their way to a home on Indian Point Road, the SIU said.

2 officers fire guns, says SIU

Outside the home there was an "interaction," and two police officers fired their guns, the SIU said.

Folz said that after shots were fired, "additional resources" were brought to the area near Eagle Lake, by the village of Haliburton, about 215 kilometres northeast of Toronto.

The man was shot and taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:47 a.m., the SIU said.

Folz said the victim was from the Eagle Lake area. He could not confirm if the man also had a weapon.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit probes incidents involving the police that have resulted in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault. (CBC)

People at the grocery store had concerns about the way the man was driving in the parking lot and on the highway, he said.

The SIU said four investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the case.

The unit is asking anyone with information to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. The SIU is also urging people with any video evidence to upload it through the SIU website.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ontario Provincial Police said they were investigating a "serious criminal matter" near Haliburton.

On Twitter, the OPP had asked people to stay away from Indian Point Road near Eagle Lake but said there was no concern for public safety. 

An OPP official confirmed they had asked people to stay inside while looking for a male suspect in the Indian Point Road area.

The SIU probes incidents involving the police that have resulted in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.

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