Man and woman charged with murder in shooting death of 28-year-old Ontario cop
Family members, friends and bereaved colleagues of 28-year-old Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Const. Grzegorz "Greg" Pierzchala are grieving today in the wake of a fatal shooting that left the young officer dead on his first solo day on the job.
Pierzchala, a former Queen's Park special constable and member of the Canadian Armed Forces who had just completed his 10-month probationary period with the OPP on Tuesday, was killed in the line of duty on Tuesday afternoon near Hagersville, Ontario, when responding to a call about a vehicle in a ditch.
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said during a press conference Tuesday night that Pierzchala had arrived to assist the occupants of a vehicle in a ditch near Indian Line and Concession 14 around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Upon approaching the vehicle, two suspects are said to have opened fire upon the officer, fatally wounding him. Pierzchala was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and eventually pronounced dead.
"Our hearts are actually broken as a policing family," said Carrique when speaking during a news conference late Tuesday evening, noting that the young man had wanted to be a police officer since the age of five.
"[He] had a brief opportunity to live out his dream and to do his best to keep our community safe."
Police say that two suspects fled the scene of the shooting; one a 25-year-old man, the other a 30-year-old woman.
#OPP officer shot after responding to a call for a vehicle in the ditch at Indian Line and Consession 14 of Walpole. #OPP continuing to investigate. Further details to follow. @HaldimandCounty #HaldimandOPP ^es pic.twitter.com/hgm6HyToMs— OPP West Region (@OPP_WR) December 27, 2022
An emergency alert was issued advising local residents to shelter in place, as the suspects were believed to be armed and dangerous.
After arresting the suspects, police cancelled the alert.
"They were taken into custody in a very short period of time, and there was no immediate risk to any of the public (during) the time they were at large," said Carrique, though it is still unclear how and where the suspects were apprehended.
It is with an extremely heavy heart that I regretfully advise that #OPP Provincial Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala was killed today while courageously serving in the line of duty. Our hearts are with his loved ones and all OPP members at this tragic time. #HeroesInLife pic.twitter.com/Chg9RKiYTt— Thomas Carrique (@OPPCommissioner) December 28, 2022
The suspects, 25-year-old Randall McKenzie and 30-year-old Brandi Crystal Lyn Stewart-Sperry, were each charged with first-degree murder in an Ontario courtroom on Wednesday.
It is not year clear how the suspects are related or why Pierzchala was shot.
Both McKenzie and Stewart-Sperry will be detained until their bail hearing on Jan. 17, 2023, according to police.
UPDATE #4: Accused identified as Randall McKenzie, 25, of Six Nations, & Brandi Stewart-Sperry, 30. Each charged with first degree murder. Correct photo of Brandi Stewart-Sperry att. https://t.co/NkZCcEPXwV pic.twitter.com/d2y6OO4o8u— Chronicle.Lance (@ChronicleLance) December 29, 2022
"Heartbreaking news from Haldimand County, where Ontario Provincial Police Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala has been killed in the line of duty," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the officer's murder late Tuesday.
"To his family, friends, and colleagues — the thoughts of all Canadians are with you."
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