ONTARIO, CANADA – While family and friends of a fallen Ontario OPP officer are trying to wrap their minds around him being killed in the line of duty, recent news has been released that will rub salt in an open wound for those who knew him.
The alleged murderer of the police officer had been released on bail six months ago after being arrested for assaulting a police officer and possession of a firearm and had an active warrant for his arrest for breaking bond conditions.
The body of slain Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer Const. Grzegorz “Greg” Pierzchala will be escorted from Toronto to Barrie in a police procession Friday morning.https://t.co/HtBbClgYEx
— CTV Toronto (@CTVToronto) December 30, 2022
Accused cop killers, 25-year-old Randall McKenzie, and 30-year-old Brandi Crystal Lyn Stewart-Sperry were arrested on December 27th for the shooting death of OPP Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala.
The 28-year-old fallen officer was shot and killed after responding to a vehicle that had crashed into a ditch west of Hagersville before 3 p.m.
Both McKenzie and Stewart-Sperry were officially charged at the Cayuga courthouse for first-degree murder in the shooting death of Officer Pierzchala.
Both were ordered to be held without bail pending their next court appearance which is scheduled for January 17th. The judge in the case also ordered that the pair were prohibited from reaching out to any witnesses or members of the fallen officer’s family.
“Needless to say the murder of Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was preventable,” Carrique said. “This should have never happened. Something needs to change.”
Soft-on-crime Liberal policies will continue to put Canadians, cops at risk. 🇨🇦 #AbolishC5 https://t.co/uHkfmR36L6
— Tracey Wilson (@TWilsonOttawa) December 29, 2022
Shortly after McKenzie’s arrest for murder, court records were found that showed he had just been released on bail on June 27th after spending six months in jail. McKenzie, who was taken into custody for those charges on December 1, 2021, was charged with a dozen criminal offenses, ranging from assault with a weapon, assaulting a police officer, to possession of counterfeit money.
Police who worked the investigation in December found a handgun that was allegedly in McKenzie’s possession upon his arrest. Police allege the gun that McKenzie had had its serial number removed, most likely indicating that the firearm was stolen.
Court documents also noted that McKenzie was already prevented from owning and possessing firearms after other judges ordered the ban in 2016 and 2018. Despite the legal bans from judges, McKenzie was still able to obtain firearms and carry them.
Officer Pierzchala’s death marks the fifth Ontario police officer who has lost their lives since September of this year.
20221229: Vincent Ball: 'Outraged': Ontario's top cop demands bail change after officer's killing ["The man accused of killing Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was out on bail on criminal charges, including assaulting a police officer" https://t.co/DyMKOlfi73
— John N. Davis (@johnndavis) December 29, 2022
Officer Pierzchala had only been an officer with Ontario for just over a year. OPP Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique reported it was Officer Pierzchala’s childhood dream to become a police officer. Commissioner Carrique reported at a news conference, according to the Hamilton Spectator:
“This is a man who, at five years old, decided he wanted to be a police officer and he had a brief opportunity to live out his dream and to do his best to keep our community safe.”
Commissioner Carrique added:
“I’m outraged by the fact that McKenzie was out on bail and provided the opportunity to take the life of an innocent officer.”
Officer Pierzchala received a call for service around 2:30 p.m. regarding a vehicle stuck in a ditch on Indian Line near the border of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Officer Pierzchala could not have possibly known that the vehicle he was responding to was stolen and that McKenzie allegedly laid in wait for him.
Commissioner Carrique reported that Officer Pierzchala was essentially ambushed by McKenzie as soon as he arrived on the scene. He said:
“[Officer Pierzchala] had no chance to defend himself.”
After shooting and killing the officer, McKenzie and his girlfriend fled on foot until they were able to find another car to steal. They took that car which was later found abandoned as the two ran through fields around Hagersville while trying to flee from capture.
Officers moved in and set up a perimeter and were able to lock down McKenzie and Stewart-Sperry until they were able to take them down roughly two hours later. Police reported the pair were arrested separately from each other.
Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was murdered by a convicted criminal who was out on bail after a prior officer assault and possessing a handgun. Police and the public deserve to be kept safe from violent offenders. This murder was completely preventable. https://t.co/Ydk17TTcWL
— Michael Barrett (@MikeBarrettON) December 29, 2022
According to the Hamilton Spectator, Stewart-Sperry was also out on bail and the time of the murder. She had been taken into custody by Hamilton Police on June 8th after she and another man were allegedly found in a stolen 2019 Land Rover.
Commissioner Carrique told anyone who would listen that it was time for things to “change” with the criminal justice system. The Commissioner said:
“The murder of constable [Pierzchala] was preventable. This should have never happened. Something needs to change. Our police officers – your police officers, my police officers – deserve to be safeguarded against violent offenders who’ve been charged with firearm offenses.”
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