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Outgunned Sudbury officer was catalyst for change

Today marks the 20th anniversary of a violent, gripping episode in Sudbury's history.

Former Sudbury police chief reflects on the murder of Cst. Joe MacDonald, 20 years later

The 1993 funeral for Sudbury police officer Joe MacDonald was attended by hundreds of people in the city's downtown. (Radio-Canada)

Today marks the 20th anniversary of a violent, gripping episode in Sudbury's history.

A 29-year-old police constable, Joe MacDonald, was shot and killed after a police chase in the early morning hours of Oct. 7, 1993.

Paramedics saved Clinton Suzack, one of the two men later convicted of Joe MacDonald's murder. (Radio-Canada)

Paramedics saved Clinton Suzack, one of the two men later convicted of MacDonald's murder.

A former Sudbury police chief, Alex MacCauley, said in an interview with CBC News that MacDonald was alone when he pulled Suzack and Peter Pennett over for what was likely impaired driving.

Suzack was a known violent offender who'd recently been released on parole.

Peter Pennett was convicted of 1st degree murder in 1995 for the killing of Cst. Joe MacDonald. He and Clinton Suzackare each serving a prison term of 25 years to life. (Radio-Canada)

MacCauley, who was the inspector in charge of criminal investigations at that time, said Suzack and co-convicted Peter Pennett started beating MacDonald and, when gunfire was exchanged, MacDonald was out-gunned.

“The .38 calibre revolver was absolutely no kind of a weapon that you could have any kind of protection against fire power like Suzack and Pennett had,” said MacCauley during an interview with Markus Schwabe, host of CBC News Morning North radio program.

“As it turned out, Joe exhausted all of his ammunition. A .38 calibre revolver — any type of revolver — is almost impossible to load and reload in those kinds of situations. That’s all been changed.”

Cst. Joe MacDonald was a Sudbury police officer with five years experience — and a young family at home — when he was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop in New Sudbury. (Supplied)

MacCauley said upgrades to police radios also came on the heels of MacDonald's death.

Suzack and Pennett were convicted of 1st degree murder in 1995 and are each serving 25 years to life.

MacDonald had five years of policing under his belt and a young family at home, when that routine traffic stop in New Sudbury cost him his life.

Listen to the entire interview with Alex McCauley here.

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