Calgary

Widow of slain Calgary police officer pregnant with couple's 1st child

Andrew Harnett, the Calgary police officer killed during a traffic stop New Year's Eve, was remembered by the chief of the city's police service as a dedicated officer who was "committed to a life of service" and who left behind not only his family of fellow officers but also a wife who is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Officer Andrew Harnett was 'one of the best,' says Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld

Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, was killed while on duty on New Year's Eve after a driver fled the scene of a traffic stop he was conducting. He leaves behind a grief-stricken family, including his partner, Chelsea, who is pregnant with the couple's first child. (Calgary Police Service)

The Calgary police officer killed in the line of duty leaves behind his wife, Chelsea, who is pregnant with the couple's first child

Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, died in hospital of injuries sustained during a traffic stop he conducted New Year's Eve. The driver of one of the vehicles Harnett stopped shortly before 11 p.m. tried to flee, taking off in an SUV and striking and dragging the officer. 

Amir Abdulrahman, 19, and a 17-year-old man have been charged with first-degree murder in Harnett's death. Abdulrahman was wanted on an assault warrant at the time of the stop.

Harnett was more than a driven, beloved colleague with a large policing family; he also left behind grieving parents, brothers and his partner, Chelsea, who is several months pregnant, according to several of the slain officer's colleagues. 

A police liaison who has been working with Harnett's wife and other family members said they continue to be "overwhelmed" with grief. When the family is ready, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) will share a statement from them. In the meantime, they've asked for privacy.

Blue ribbons dot mailboxes, lamps and trees on residential streets throughout Calgary and beyond while many porches glow blue for the fallen officer. (Twitter: @erin-fyfe/@boomers)

A day after Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld fought back tears at a press conference he described as one he'd had nightmares about, Calgary's top cop thanked the public for the "outpouring of community support."

Neufeld, who met and spent time with Harnett early in his tenure as Calgary chief, described the sergeant as "one of the best" who was "committed to a life of service."

By all accounts, Harnett was a consummate police officer. He'd been decorated with two Chief's Awards for lifesaving over his 12-year career with CPS and before that, he was a military police officer. 

Condolences from across the country

In Calgary and beyond, blue ribbons dot mailboxes and trees on residential streets and porches glow blue for the fallen officer.

"It means the world to our officers to see these displays while they continue in their duties during this difficult time," said Neufeld. 

Police agencies from all over the country and beyond also sent condolences to Harnett's family and CPS over social media.

Jason Harnett, left, said his brother Andrew always wanted to be a police officer. (Submitted by Jason Harnett)

In Toronto, a poignant photo of Const. Matthew Saade saluting the flags at half mast was tweeted by his division.

Saade had lived and worked in Calgary as Harnett's policing partner for six years.

Harnett's older brother Jason said his younger sibling loved policing.

"He didn't need to be out on Christmas Day. He didn't need to be out on New Year's Eve. He just loved doing it."

An email address has been established for those wishing to send messages of condolence to Sgt. Harnett's family –condolences@calgarypolice.ca.

The two teens accused of killing Harnett were identified as suspects early in the investigation, in a large part, because of Harnett's "exceptional police work," said the chief. 

Harnett had made contact with the driver and his passenger, recording some of their information before the pair took off, Neufeld said. 

The pair will appear in court Monday morning. Lawyers for both have indicated they plan to seek their clients' release. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach her at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCMeg.

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