Flowers were taped to a pole near where Sgt. Ryan Russell was struck and killed Wednesday. ((CBC))

Toronto police have charged a man with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in the slaying of Sgt. Ryan Russell, who died after being struck by a stolen truck equipped with a snowplow.

Police Chief Bill Blair identified the suspect Thursday as Richard Kachkar, 44, of no fixed address.

Russell, a married 35-year-old father of a two-year-old boy, died in St. Michael's Hospital of injuries he suffered when he was struck around 6:10 a.m. Wednesday by a stolen truck in midtown Toronto.

The incident ended after the suspect was shot and arrested in the city's west end at about 7:20 a.m.

"This has been an investigation, which has been aided by the availability of video from Sgt. Russell's scout car and from evidence that has been provided by a number of civilian witnesses that stepped forward to assist in our investigation," Blair told reporters at a news conference that lasted only two minutes.

It was not immediately clear what the two attempted murder charges relate to.

"I am unable to provide you with more detail on that investigation," said Blair, who left the news conference for a graduation ceremony for 42 new police recruits.

The province's Special Investigations Unit, which is called in whenever a civilian has been seriously hurt or killed in an interaction with police, is also investigating.


Sgt. Ryan Russell had been with the Toronto Police Service for 11 years. ((Toronto Police Service))

Kachkar is a former St. Catharines, Ont., resident, the SIU said in a release. He is recovering in the intensive care unit at St. Michael's Hospital.

Kachkar remained in hospital Thursday. He was apprehended by heavily armed emergency task force officers about seven kilometres from where Russell was left mortally wounded on the bloodstained snow.

Little contact with uncle

A relative of the accused was unable to shed any light on him or the incident.

Anwar Kachkar, of Edmonton, said he hadn't seen his nephew in decades and had no connection to him.

His parents "died a long time ago," the uncle said.

Kachkar was arrested after a police pursuit that ended on Keele Street near Humberside Avenue after the stolen truck hit a City of Toronto garbage truck.

At that point, heavily armed officers from the emergency task force moved in to arrest Kachkar, who was driving the truck, the SIU alleged.

"During the arrest, attempts were made to subdue him," the SIU said. "An officer fired shots from his pistol. The driver was struck."

An officer was also hurt during that arrest. The SIU said it has interviewed nine police-officer witnesses and four civilian witnesses as part of its investigation.

The stolen truck was the property of Tolias Landscaping and Plowing.

The company's general manager, Richard Eros, said that the operator of the truck was shoveling snow by hand in the Regent Park area near Parliament and Dundas streets early Wednesday.

That's when a man with no shoes jumped into the truck and drove off, he said.

A map of events before and after the stolen truck equipped with a snowplow struck Sgt. Ryan Russell. (Google Maps)
With files from The Canadian Press