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Two in custody after OPP officer, 28, fatally shot near Hagersville


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Two in custody after OPP officer, 28, fatally shot near Hagersville

A 28-year-old Ontario Provincial Police officer with just over a year on the job was fatally shot near Hagersville, a small community southeast of Brantford, on Tuesday afternoon.

“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,” OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in a tweet Tuesday evening. “Our hearts are with his loved ones and all OPP members at this tragic time.”

Police said that two suspects are in custody. They had previously issued an alert looking for a man and a woman, and told local residents to “shelter in place.”

A press release from the Ontario Provincial Police Association said Const. Pierzchala went by “Greg.”

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Greg’s family, friends and colleagues. Greg’s service and sacrifice will never be forgotten,” the statement reads. “He will always be remembered as Hero in Life, Not Death.”

Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, a police officer from the OPP’s Haldimand County detachment arrived at the intersection of Indian Line and Concession 14, near the southwestern border of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, to respond to reports of a vehicle in a ditch, according to an OPP press release.

“When the officer arrived, he was shot,” the statement reads.

The OPP said Pierzchala was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to initial statements from the OPP, a man and a woman were spotted fleeing the scene in a black 2021 Chevrolet pickup truck with an Ontario licence plate. The OPP said the suspects have since been taken into custody following a “major search of the area.”

“No further details will be released at this time regarding the suspects,” the police force said.

In a tweet at about 5 p.m., the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation had said the OPP have confirmed a shooting near the First Nation.

“The OPP is assisting the member’s family and colleagues as they deal with this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” the OPP said in its press release. “The family is asking for privacy at this difficult time.”

The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation also offered its condolences in a short statement to the Star.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the police officer who was shot and killed this afternoon,” Chief Stacey LaForme said in an email. “We are relieved to hear that the people believed to be involved have been arrested.”

In a tweet, Ontario premier Doug Ford said he was “horrified” by the officer’s death.

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“Our first responders are true heroes,” Ford said. “We share in the pain felt by family, friends and the entire police community as Ontario mourns this loss.”

Earlier in the evening, Haldimand County Mayor Shelley Bentley offered her condolences in a press release.

“Our hearts go out to the officer’s family, his OPP colleagues, and all first responders impacted by this horrific event,” Mayor Bentley said.

In a tweet, the Police Association of Ontario said it is “heartbroken to hear the horrible news coming out of Hagersville, ON [sic] that yet another colleague won’t be coming home tonight.”

In a post to Twitter, Durham Regional Police said police are sending “thoughts and prayers” to the family and friends of the officer that died in the shooting.

Halton Police also took to Twitter to say the service “stands with” provincial police after Pierzchala died.

Bryan MacCulloch, chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service, also spoke about the shooting on Twitter.

“We know the inherent dangers of the job but it still hits close to home when we lose yet another officer in such a no tragedy,” MacCulloch said.

“We stand in support and solidarity with our brothers, sisters, family & friends.”

Myron Demkiw, chief of Toronto Police Service, and Nishan Duraiappah, chief of Peel Regional Police, also tweeted their condolences.

“Further details will follow once new information becomes available,” Const. Sanchuk said.

This past fall, three other police officers in Ontario have died in shootings.

On Sept. 12, Toronto Police officer Andrew Hong was fatally shot in a Tim Hortons in Mississauga. The gunman, who killed two others in a shooting rampage in Mississauga and Milton, died after being shot by police in Hamilton.

On Oct. 11, two South Simcoe police officers, Devon Northrup and Morgan Russell, died after being called to a disturbance at a home in Innisfil. A 23-year-old-man inside the home also died in the shooting.

Ben Mussett is a Toronto-based general assignment reporter for the Star. Reach him via email: bmussett@thestar.ca

Isaac Phan Nay is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach him via email: iphannay@thestar.ca

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