Slain officer's wife to speak at Toronto funeral
Public advised to arrive early because of downtown road closures
The wife of Sgt. Ryan Russell, the Toronto police officer killed last week after he was struck by a stolen snowplow truck, will make her first public comments Tuesday at his funeral service.
The funeral's itinerary, released Monday, shows Christine Russell will offer a tribute at the service, which is to begin at 1 p.m. ET at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street West.
Other prominent figures scheduled to speak at the funeral for the 11-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service include:
- Toronto police Chief Bill Blair.
- Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley.
- Julian Fantino, former Toronto police chief and now federal minister of state for seniors.
Hundreds of officers from across the country are expected to march ahead of the funeral. They will start gathering at the intersection of University Avenue and Dundas Street West at 9 a.m.
The march will head south on University Avenue beginning at 11 a.m. The officers will march to Wellington Street West, then west on Wellington to Simcoe Street and finally south on Simcoe to Bremner Boulevard.
The public is welcome to attend the funeral service, but police warn there is limited seating and encourage people to be at the convention centre before 11:30 a.m.
There will also be a number of road closures in the area that are likely to cause traffic disruptions the entire day.
- At 9 a.m., University Avenue will be closed in both directions, from Queen Street West to College Street. (Street will reopen after processions pass).
- At 10 a.m., University Avenue will be closed in both directions, from Front Street West to College Street. (Street will reopen after processions pass).
- Lower Simcoe Street will be closed in both directions, from Front Street West to Lakeshore Boulevard West.
- Bremner Boulevard will be closed from York Street to Rees Street, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Russell, 35, was killed last Wednesday when he was struck while trying to stop a stolen truck equipped with a snowplow that was being driven erratically through the city. He was knocked to the ground and suffered fatal head injuries.
Richard Kachkar, 44, is charged with first-degree murder and remains in hospital recovering from bullet wounds he suffered during his arrest.
- Red lines: Road closures
- Blue line: The cortege path