OPP officer killed, 2 others injured in 'ambush' east of Ottawa

One Ontario Provincial Police officer was shot dead, and two others were injured, in what police are calling an "ambush" in the eastern Ontario community of Bourget in the municipality of Clarence-Rockland early Thursday morning.

Sgt. Eric Mueller shot and killed; 1 person in custody

OPP commissioner says three officers were ambushed at Bourget residence

4 months ago
Duration 0:59
During a news conference Thursday, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said, of the three officers who were taken to hospital early Thursday morning, one — Sgt. Eric Mueller — was killed and one has been treated and released.

One Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer was shot dead, and two others were injured, in what police are calling an "ambush" in the eastern Ontario community of Bourget in the municipality of Clarence-Rockland early Thursday morning.

The officer who was killed has been identified as Sgt. Eric Mueller, according to OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.

"He is described by his colleagues as a coach and mentor," Carrrique said at a news conference at the OPP Ottawa detachment Thursday afternoon. "Somebody that everybody looked up to. The glue that held the ship together."

Police officer headshot with name written
Sgt. Eric Mueller was killed responding to a report of a gunshot on Laval Street in Bourget, about 50 kilometres east of downtown Ottawa. (Ontario Provincial Police)

One of the injured officers, who is 35, has been treated and released from hospital, Carrique said. The other, who is in his early 40s, remains in hospital in stable condition. No civilians were injured in the encounter and OPP say there is no danger to the public.

Police said they arrested a 39-year-old man. Court documents obtained by CBC identify the suspect as Alain Bellefeuille, who has been charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, murder is automatically in the first degree when the victim is a police officer.

Bellefeuille appeared in court via video on Thursday afternoon and his next court appearance is set for May 18.

Officers respond to disturbance

Just after 2 a.m., Mueller and two other officers were called to a disturbance at a home on Laval Street in Bourget, OPP said. Carrique said it is his understanding the residence belonged to the shooter.

Someone had reported hearing a gunshot.

When the officers arrived, all three were shot by someone at the home, OPP said. They were taken to hospital in Ottawa, where one of them died.

Three OPP officers taken to hospital after shooting early Thursday morning

4 months ago
Duration 0:23
A shooting in Bourget, Ont. sent three Ontario Provincial Police officers to hospital early in the morning of May 11, 2023. One of the officers has since died, OPP say.

Carrique called the events an "ambush."

"When three officers arrive on scene and within minutes are shot, one is killed, another is very seriously and critically injured, and another injured to the point of requiring medical attention for simply arriving on scene," he said. "I categorize that as an ambush."

Police vehicles blocking a road.
Police investigate the shooting on Laval Street. OPP are holding a news conference at 1 p.m. in Ottawa. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

Other OPP officers arrived on scene and were able to safely take the accused into custody, Carrique said. Officers from the Ottawa Police Service are assisting.

Five Ontario police officers who died in the line of duty this past year were honoured in Toronto Sunday. Since September, Carrique said 10 officers across Canada have been lost in the line of duty — nine of them killed.

Madison Bach, who lives about three doors down from the house where the shooting took place, told CBC her partner thought he heard something at 2 a.m., but went back to bed.

Bourget residents react to news of early morning shooting

4 months ago
Duration 0:40
Residents told CBC Thursday morning that they awoke to the sound of sirens and later heard that three OPP officers had been shot at a home in the eastern Ontario community of Bourget.

At 3 a.m. Bach woke up to nurse their six-month-old daughter and saw the flashing lights of first responders outside.

"It's just really scary that it can happen so close to where you live. Bourget is a very remote community. It's very quiet," she said.

'It's devastating'

The MPP for the area, Stéphane Sarrazin, told CBC in an interview from Toronto Thursday that officials will be working with first responders to get them proper support.

"Our thoughts are with the police officer and their family, and it's devastating to hear that kind of situation went on in our riding," he said.

In a Twitter post Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called Mueller's killing senseless and asked people to pray for the other officers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the news coming out of Bourget "awful," and said the two injured officers are in his thoughts. 

The mayor of Clarence-Rockland, Mario Zanth, said in an interview the community is trying to "support itself and each other."

"You're always shocked when it happens everywhere else, but when it happens at home, it definitely hits a little harder," Zanth said.

Bourget is about 50 kilometres east of downtown Ottawa.