Those of you who know me will already know I come from a cop family. My brother just joined the RCMP and started at a northern detachment less than a year ago. I don't even know how to explain how I felt when I saw this on the cbc website I use to get Canadian news. This kind of thing just doesn't happen in Canada. The worst I've ever heard of before this was 3 members being killed in Kamloops, BC in the 70s.
4 RCMP officers murdered on Alberta farm
Last Updated Thu, 03 Mar 2005 21:52:55 EST
ROCHFORT BRIDGE, ALTA. - A raid on a suspected marijuana grow operation in rural Alberta has left five people dead - four of them RCMP officers. It is the single worst multiple killing of RCMP officers in modern Canadian history.
"It's my sad duty to inform you that four RCMP officers, four brave young members have been killed in the line of duty," said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bill Sweeney. All of those killed were described as junior officers.
According to police the incident unfolded early Thursday morning when four RCMP officers - three from the Mayerthorpe detachment and another from nearby Whitecourt, took part in a raid on farm near Rochfort Bridge. The officers were investigating allegations of stolen property and a marijuana grow operation.
Rochfort Bridge is located near Mayerthorpe, about 130 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
Looking ashen and shaken, RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Oakes told a news conference that the officers were killed inside a Quonset hut on the farm. They had been shot.
Their bodies were discovered by emergency response team officers at about 2:20 p.m.
Asked if the victims had been ambushed, Oakes said "I don't know."
The suspect is also dead, though police can't say yet if he was killed by other officers, or if he turned his high-power rifle on himself. Oakes did say the suspect "was known to police."
News vehicles were kept away from the scene through the day while police investigated.
The names of the murdered officers have not been released, pending notification of next of kin. The name of the suspect is also being withheld.
The killing of the four officers appears to be unprecedented in modern Canadian history. "You'd have to go back to 1885, to the Northwest Rebellion, to have a loss of this magnitude. It's devastating," said Sweeney.
Exactly what happened on the farm remains a mystery.
All RCMP will say so far is that some of the four officers took part in an overnight stakeout at the farm and were preparing to serve a search warrant.
But it appears the four were left to guard the Quonset hut. Two were inside and two were outside. The suspect returned, discovered the officers, snuck up on them and killed them.
The first word of a problem came from Alberta Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko who said the RCMP lost contact with the four at about 10 a.m.
"As far as we know, there's four officers not responding to their radios, so there is an indication that something is serious here," Cenaiko said earlier in the day.
After the shooting the RCMP rushed at least two emergency response teams from Edmonton and Red Deer to the area, along with reinforcements from the Edmonton police. The Canadian military was put on alert, but later told it wasn't needed.
Mar 10, '05
The memorial service ended awhile ago. There were no empty seats at the Butterdome on the University of Alberta campus. (If it weren't for the Canadian curling championships currently underway here, the service would have been at Rexall Place, and the attendance would have been close to 20,000.) The governor-general, the prime minister, the commissioner of the RCMP, the assistant commissioner for Alberta and the premier of Alberta were the dignitaries who attended. There were also law-enforcement officers from all over North America here to pay thier respects. Several from Washington state called a local radio station this morning to voice their support and caring. Traffic is still a problem around the campus as people try to leave the area. I wasn't able to get down there because of a prior commitment and was quite upset that the parade wasn't televised. (Maybe I can catch it on the suppertime news.) I was able to catch the first part of the service though. It was very moving to watch the sea of red serge as it filled the front rows. Peter Schiemann's funeral was yesterday in Stony Plain; his dad presided over it in his role as the minister of the Lutheran church there. (I can't imagine having the strength to do that!) Tony Gordon's and Leo Johnston's funerals are tomorrow and Brock Myrol's is Saturday. Leo Johnston went to high school only a few blocks from my house.
Nothing has been said about services for Jim Roszko, the man who killed them. Much has been said however about how dangerous this man was and how very well everyone in the Mayerthorpe area knew it. He had a serious hate on for the RCMP and believed that they were "out to get him". He had a long criminal history for sexual assault, physical assault, counselling to commit murder, attempted murder, uttering threats and firearms infractions, but had only served a total of about 2 1/2 years. Most times charges would be dropped because people were so afraid of him. We may never know exactly what happened that day, such as how Roszko was able to get back to his farm after being chased by police many miles distant, or how he got into the Quonset hut without being seen. The one thing I hold on to is that none of the Mounties would have had time to suffer, while Roszko was wounded by a police-fired round and only died later by his own hand .
To those who love police officers or soldiers, I wish you courage and conviction. As long as there is a human race there will be fallen heroes. We have to love them and support them while we have them, then trust that God will take over from us when they're gone.
Last edit by NotReady4PrimeTime on Mar 10, '05
: Reason: left something out