An Abbotsford Police officer died in the line of duty today, Police Chief Bob Rich confirmed at a press conference this afternoon.
“The officer who gave his life today is a hero. He was protecting his community. He will always be my hero,” Rich said.
The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) member was not named at the media gathering, which was held in response to the chaotic series of events that took place earlier today.
Rich said police received a call just after 11:30 a.m. to report a possible stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a strip mall in the 3200 block of Mt. Lehman Road, north of Highstreet Shopping Centre.
The caller blocked in the vehicle, while waiting for police to arrive.
Rich said the suspect then got out of the car and began shooting at the caller and others with a shotgun.
APD officers arrived and tried to arrest the suspect. Gunshots were exchanged, and an officer was shot, Rich said.
That member was transported to hospital with “very serious injuries.”
The suspect then fled in the stolen vehicle and was apprehended by APD officers in the area of Mt. Lehman Road and South Fraser Way.
Rich said the man – in his 60s and from Alberta – was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Shortly after, the injured officer was pronounced dead in hospital.
Rich said he met with the officer’s spouse this afternoon and delivered the devastating news.
He said the investigation is now in the hands of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. The Independent Investigation Office has also been deployed.
“This is a continuing investigation obviously. There are many questions still to be answered. Our priority is going to be in supporting the family and each other,” he said.
Rich praised all the officers involved for their response in “heroically trying to save the life” of the injured officer, in immediately taking control of the scene, and in protecting the public from the shooter.
“Our officers’ actions today, all of them, were absolutely heroic … Our members did their job,” he said.
No further comments were provided by police at the end of Rich’s statement.