OPP officer killed near Brantford, Ont., while responding to a call, commissioner says

An Ontario Provincial Police officer has died after he was shot in Haldimand County responding to a call, police say.

A male and female are in custody in connection with the fatal shooting, OPP say

A photo of a man identified as police officer Grzegorz Pierzchala can be seen.
Ontario Provincial Police say Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was shot and killed while responding to a call in Haldimand County on Tuesday afternoon. (Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner/Twitter)

An Ontario Provincial Police officer has died after he was shot in Haldimand County while responding to a call, police say.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique identified the officer on Tuesday evening as Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala, who died "courageously serving in the line of duty."

"Our hearts are with his loved ones and all OPP members at this tragic time," Carrique wrote on Twitter.

OPP Sgt. Ed Sanchuk said a male and a female are in custody in connection with the fatal shooting.

He said no other suspects are outstanding, although he did not say whether any charges have been laid.

According to Sanchuk, Pierzchala responded to a call of a vehicle in a ditch at about 2:40 p.m. at Indian Line and Concession 14, roughly 40 kilometres from Hamilton, near Hagersville, Ont. The area is also home to Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and next to Six Nations of the Grand River.

Upon arrival, Sanchuk said, Pierzchala was shot. He was transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The OPP said Pierzchala, 28, died during his first year as a provincial police officer. 

"Greg was a phenomenal officer, great guy, great community member," Sanchuk said. He noted that the officer's family is asking for privacy at this time.

"He's going to be truly missed by everybody."

Police cars are seen outside an emergency department.
According to OPP Sgt. Ed Sanchuk, the officer responded to a call of a vehicle in a ditch at about 2:40 p.m. at Indian Line and Concession 14, roughly 40 kilometres from Hamilton. (CBC)

A male and a female were seen leaving the scene, police say.

At about 5:45 p.m., the OPP issued a shelter in place alert for residents in Six Nations of the Grand River, Hamilton and surrounding areas, warning them of two suspects, a man and a woman.

A name, photo and suspect description of the man were included with the alert, but the woman was unidentified. A description of a vehicle was also given.

As of about 7 p.m., the alert is no longer active.

'I just feel very, very terrible for the officer'

Halley Hill, 28, is Mohawk, Turtle Clan from Six Nations and lives in the Hagersville area with her two children, aged six and four, about "a concession and a half" from where she believes police were searching for suspects, she said. 

"I had a lot of anxiety. And I was just trying to do my best to stay calm for my children," Hill said, adding that she always felt the area was a relatively safe environment for her kids.

Now that the alert that called for residents to shelter in place is no longer active, Hill said she feels some relief but is still "a bit shaken up and nervous" knowing it was so close to home.

"I just feel very, very terrible for the officer who lost his life," she said.

"I think people need to be kind to all surrounding communities. I know a lot of people have issues with police.... In this instance, it's not about that. You know, a police officer lost his life."

Police officers can be seen near their vehicles near the side of a road.
Ontario Provincial Police officers were called to Indian Line and Concession 14 in Haldimand County on Tuesday after an officer was shot while responding to a call. (CBC)

As for the reports that say an Indigenous man was a suspect, Hill called for caution.

"That's not the community. That's not the kinds of people that we are," she said.

"And I just want people to keep in mind to be kind to ... other Indigenous people because we know there's going to be a lot of things said, unkind things, unpleasant things towards Indigenous [people] now that this has happened."

Community grieves officer's death

Members of the local community shared their grief at Pierzchala's death.

"Every day, our county's first responders risk their lives for the safety of our community and a tragedy like today's is one we hope never comes," Haldimand County Mayor Shelley Bentley said in a statement.

"I know there's nothing I can say to lessen this tragic loss, but to all who are grieving, know that the community grieves with you."

Stacey Laforme, the Gimaa (Chief) of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, said the community will be arranging for wellness supports for those impacted by the tragedy.

"We are relieved to hear that the people involved have been taken into custody," Laforme said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the police officer who was shot and killed this afternoon."

Police cars and officers can be seen in a rural outdoor road setting.
Ontario Provincial Police officers are shown at the scene where an officer was shot and killed while responding to a call of a vehicle in a ditch on Tuesday, police say. (CBC)

Mark Hill, elected chief of Six Nations of the Grand River, said he's spoken to Laforme and has offered any services Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation might need at this time.

"I 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," Hill said in a statement.

"I am sending my sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers to Officer Pierzchala's loved ones and the entire OPP family for this immense loss."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he was "horrified" by Pierzchala's death, adding he's thankful to the officers who arrested the suspects.

"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," Ford wrote on Twitter.


Vanessa Balintec is a reporter for CBC Toronto who likes writing stories about labour, equity and community. She previously worked for stations in New Brunswick and Kitchener-Waterloo. You can reach her at vanessa.balintec@cbc.ca and on Twitter at @vanessabalintec.

With files from Eva Salinas and The Canadian Press