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Entertainment: Slain OPP officer on first solo tour when he encountered wanted suspect

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OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala, 28, was fatally shot while responding to a vehicle in a ditch west of Hagersville, Ont. on Dec. 27, 2022. © Provided by Toronto Sun OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala, 28, was fatally shot while responding to a vehicle in a ditch west of Hagersville, Ont. on Dec. 27, 2022.

In the minutes before he took the road for his tragic, final shift, OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala learned he had passed probation.

Now that the 10-month period was over, he could make calls on his own.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique revealed to reporters the young officer was given the good news Tuesday prior to heading out on patrol.

The former Queen’s Park special constable would not be coming home.

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Around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, the 28-year-old Pierzchala responded to a call reporting there was a car in a ditch along Indian Line Rd. near Hagersville at 2:40 p.m.

Minutes later he would face an armed man who had allegedly failed to show up for court to face gun charges.

 Members of the Ontario Provincial Police close off a section of road near Hagersville, Ont., where an OPP officer was shot and killed on Tuesday, December 27, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn Members of the Ontario Provincial Police close off a section of road near Hagersville, Ont., where an OPP officer was shot and killed on Tuesday, December 27, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn

Randall McKenzie, 25, was hit with gun charges in 2021 but was, according to multiple police sources, released on bail.

While on bail, he did not make a scheduled court appearance and thus was considered on the lam.

Cops are now investigating if fear of being captured as a result of the warrant was a potential motive or if there were other factors that resulted in Pierzchala being shot twice — once in the leg and once in the chest.

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While detectives are scouring the suspect’s background (he is known to police and the court system), it is expected that McKenzie will be charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday.

McKenzie’s 30-year-old, so-far-unnamed girlfriend is also expected to face charges. It is not known at this time if she will also face first-degree murder charges or aiding and abetting.

 Police have taken Randall McKenzie and a female suspect into custody in the shooting of OPP Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala. Her name was not released. © OPP Police have taken Randall McKenzie and a female suspect into custody in the shooting of OPP Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala. Her name was not released.

The woman was arrested first in a rural, bush area near Mississauga Rd., Ojibwa Rd. and Hwy. 6 S.

McKenzie was arrested soon after. Police sources say he followed orders to drop his gun and put his hands in the air.

Nearby residents told reporters that they heard the sound of a single gunshot emanating from the arrest scene.

At this point it’s unclear whether McKenzie squeezed off the gunshot or whether it was the cops. McKenzie was later taken to the hospital. Late Tuesday, police officers lined the highways as his body was brought to the coroner’s office in Toronto.

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Earlier, witnesses described hearing five gunshots at the crime scene. It isn’t clear at this point whether Pierzchala returned fire.

Both suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in court.

The murder of the young officer has reverberated around the ranks of the OPP and police across the country.

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“Greg’s service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. He will always be remembered as Hero in Life, Not Death,” the OPP Association’s John Cerasuolo said. “Our members go to work every day to serve and protect the citizens of Ontario. 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.”

Political leaders were also stunned by the holiday tragedy.

“Heartbreaking news from Haldimand County, where Ontario Provincial Police Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala has been killed in the line of duty,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted. “To his family, friends and colleagues — the thoughts of all Canadians are with you.”

Permanent mental health money sought by SD&G OPP

  Permanent mental health money sought by SD&G OPP CORNWALL – A program to divert mental health calls from mainline police services in SDG Counties is seeking permanent funding in the upcoming municipal budget. SD&G OPP Detachment Commander Marc Hemmerick presented an update on the Mobile Crisis Response Team program, and his budget request, at the December 19 SDG Counties Council meeting. Highlighting the program’s accomplishments in its second year of operation, Hemmerick told council that involuntary apprehensions are down 42.5 per cent, and diversion to mental health services are up 45.3 per cent. “That is a pretty phenomenal number that we have taken [apprehensions] down that low,” Hemmerick said.

Premier Doug Ford tweeted: “I am horrified by the killing of an on-duty OPP officer. Thank you to the officers who apprehended the suspects without incident. Our first responders are true heroes. We share in the pain felt by family, friends and the entire police community as Ontario mourns this loss.”

Six Nations Elected Council Chief Mark Hill said in a statement he was “heartbroken to hear of this tragic incident as a result of a senseless act of violence, and of a young life taken so soon in the line of duty. I am sending my sincere condolences, thoughts, and prayers to Officer Pierzchala’s loved ones and the entire OPP family for this immense loss.”

Hill also thanked the “Ontario Provincial Police, the Six Nations Police, and all other services who supported this operation for their swift apprehension of the suspects and for continuing to keep our communities safe. ”

Haldimand Mayor Shelley Bentley said she’s “deeply saddened by the loss of one of our officers, who died today in the line of duty” and “to all who are grieving, know that the community grieves with you.”

A whole province does.

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Slain OPP officer on first solo tour when he encountered wanted suspect .
In the minutes before he took the road for his tragic, final shift, OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala learned he had passed probation. Now that the 10-month period was over, he could make calls on his own. OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique revealed to reporters the young officer was given the good news Tuesday prior to heading out on patrol. The former Queen’s Park special constable would not be coming home. Around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, the 28-year-old Pierzchala responded to a call reporting there was a car in a ditch along Indian Line Rd. near Hagersville at 2:40 p.m. Minutes later he would face an armed man who had allegedly failed to show up for court to face gun charges.

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