The officer that was shot and killed by two suspects in Hagersville, Ontario, has been identified as 28-year-old Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala.
The Ontario Provincial Police said Pierzchala was shot while responding to a vehicle in a ditch west of Hagersville, Ont., in Haldimand County, just after 2:30 p.m., and died in hospital.
OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk said Pierzchala, who worked with the Haldimand County detachment, had been an officer with the provincial police force for just over a year.
“(Pierzchala had a) big smile on his face telling us stories (Tuesday) when we were inside the office,” said Sanchuk at a news conference Tuesday evening. “Just a great individual to work with and this is a huge loss to the OPP family.”
“I’m never at a loss of words and I’m truly at a loss for words today.”
The OPP said two suspects were arrested but did not say whether any charges had been laid or provide further details about them.
Sanchuk said a male and a female were in custody and police were not looking for further suspects.
At 5:45 p.m., hours after the shooting, provincial police issued an emergency alert advising all area residents to remain in place after two suspects were seen fleeing the scene of the shooting, saying one of them was believed to be armed.
Sanchuk said the alert was cancelled shortly after, when the suspects were arrested.
Pierzchala is the fourth police officer to be shot dead in the province since September.
Ontario Provincial Police Association president John Cerasuolo said Pierzchala’s death underscores the danger police officers put themselves in daily.
“They do a dangerous job 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year throughout the province of Ontario. This situation demonstrates that there is no such thing as a routine call in policing,” he said in a statement.
“Greg’s service and sacrifice will never be forgotten,” said Cerasuolo. “He will always be remembered as Hero in Life, Not Death. Our members go to work every day to serve and protect the citizens of Ontario.
Haldimand County Mayor Shelley Bentley said in a statement the municipality’s “hearts go out to the officer’s family, his OPP colleagues, and all first responders impacted by this horrific event.”
In a tweet, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Pierzchala was killed “while honouring his oath to protect his province” and represents the “best of us.
“My prayers are with him, his family and friends,” said Ford. “It’s impossible to understand their grief right now. Ontario is thinking of you.”
Police have asked anyone with information to contact Haldimand County OPP or Crime Stoppers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 27, 2022.