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Northern Ont. suspect charged with murder, attempted murder in shooting of police officer

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A northern Ontario suspect who was the subject of an intense manhunt has been charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder.

Lucas MacDonald, 43, was arrested Wednesday following a shootout with Ontario Provincial Police. One officer was shot and wounded during the operation.

Lucas MacDonald, 43, was arrested June 12 following a shootout with Ontario Provincial Police. One officer was shot and wounded during the operation. (OPP photo)
 
The OPP said early Thursday evening that the unnamed officer is expected “to make a full recovery.”

Five police fired at MacDonald during Wednesday’s arrest in the area of Night Hawk Lake, east of Timmins. MacDonald was left with minor injuries.

He had been wanted for questioning since late May in the homicide of 30-year-old Marcel Thoma from Petawawa.

Thoma was shot to death and his remains were found in a wooded area in Egan Township, near Shillington, on May 23.

Police have been searching for MacDonald since then, warning the public not to approach him should they see him and call police instead.

A major operation Wednesday closed nearby Kettle Lakes Provincial Park. Police also put up wanted posters along Highway 101 between Shillington and Municipal Road.

MacDonald was charged with first-degree murder in Thoma’s death and attempted murder using a firearm in the shooting of the OPP officer.

Marcel Thoma, 30, was found shot to death in woods in Egan Township. (Facebook)

The OPP said he remains in custody and is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Timmins on Friday.

Earlier Thursday, the Special Investigations Unit said it invoked its mandate in the case because police fired their guns at MacDonald while trying to arrest him on Moose Island on Night Hawk Lake.

Exchange of gunfire

In a news release, the SIU said MacDonald was located "and at some point, there was an exchange of gunfire."

"Five officers discharged their firearms, but the man did not suffer any serious injury," the SIU said.

"One officer was struck. The man was arrested."

Four investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the case, the SIU said.

"At this time, five subject officials, three witness officials and one civilian employee have been designated."

The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about the investigation, including video or photos, to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529 or online.

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