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Sgt. Ryan Russell - Toronto Police Service


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Directing Staff
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Statement from Mayor Rob Ford on the death of Sgt. Ryan Russell:

"On behalf of all members of City Council and every resident of Toronto, I want to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of Sergeant Ryan Russell and his colleagues in 52 Division and throughout the Toronto Police Service.

"Sergeant Russell, an 11-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, died this morning while on duty, acting to protect the people of Toronto. His bravery and service to the City of Toronto will not be forgotten.

"Toronto has the best police service in the world. Sergeant Russell is a shining example of the men and women of our police service who put their lives on the line to protect us each day. They, along with our fire and emergency medical workers do their jobs selflessly every day and earn the respect and appreciation of us all."

The City of Toronto will honour Sergeant Russell by lowering the flags at Toronto City Hall and all Civic Centres to half mast.

A very tragic day’: Toronto police officer killed by stolen snowplow
Jill Mahoney
Globe and Mail Update
Published Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 7:02AM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 10:57AM EST

A Toronto police officer has died after being hit by a stolen snowplow.

Sergeant Ryan Russell, a married 35-year-old father of a young son, had been a police officer for 11 years.

“This is a very tragic day for the city of Toronto and for the Toronto Police Service,” Police Chief Bill Blair said.

Toronto police officer dies from injuries Sgt. Russell was trying to stop a man driving a stolen snowplow through the city early Wednesday, striking vehicles and nearly hitting people.

The officer, who became a sergeant six months ago and previously worked with the guns-and-gangs task force, was hit at Avenue Road and Davenport Road shortly after 6 a.m. He was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital without vital signs.

Chief Blair, who fought back emotion as he spoke to reporters, described Sgt. Russell as “a fine police officer.”

“He was out doing his job in the early-morning hours in the city in a very dangerous situation and he put his life on the line and tragically has lost his life doing his job,” he said. “This is the worst of days for the Toronto Police Service.”

Sgt. Russell’s father is a former Toronto police officer, said Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association.

“We’ve lost a great officer, a great friend, a husband and a father. And I can’t imagine the grief that the family’s going through right now,” he said. “Coming from a policing family, it’s the worst nightmare.”

Around 7:15 a.m., police pursuing the snowplow opened fire at Keele Street and Annette Street in the Junction neighbourhood, injuring the driver. He was taken to St. Mike’s hospital with serious injuries.

Pierpaolo Miele was driving to work on Keele Street when the snowplow clipped his car and then hit a garbage truck.

Police officers got out of their vehicles, firing several gunshots toward the plow, Mr. Miele said,

“I heard the gun shots. I kinda saw cops on the hood of the car looking in,” said Mr. Miele, a plumber who was heading to work in Liberty Village.

Another officer received non-life-threatening leg injuries in the takedown and was taken to North York General Hospital.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit is probing the incident. The agency investigates cases of injury or death involving police.

The city will honour Sgt. Russell by lowering flags at City Hall and civic centres to half mast, Mayor Rob Ford said in a statement issuing condolences to his family and colleagues.

“His bravery and service to the City of Toronto will not be forgotten,” he said.

The events began before 5 a.m., when a private snow-clearing crew was working outside their vehicle in the Regent Park area.

Suddenly, a barefoot man jumped into the heavy-duty pick-up truck outfitted with snow-clearing equipment and sped away.

“As quickly as they noticed him, he just jumped in their vehicle and drove off. They tried to grab the door to open it and he was already gone. He basically sped off erratically and he looked like he was driving very crazy,” said Richard Eros, general manager of Tolias Landscaping and Plowing.

Mr. Eros used the truck’s GPS to give police the vehicle’s location as it drove around downtown Toronto, crashing into several vehicles in the process.

“This guy was driving around like a maniac,” Mr. Eros said.

The last Toronto Police officer to be killed in the line of duty was Constable Laura Ellis, whose police car was hit by another vehicle as she and her partner responded to a break-and-enter call in 2002.

With reports from Arti Patel and Trevor Melanson.
RIP Sgt Russel, and condolences to his family and service.  :salute:
RIP Sgt Russell :salute:

Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt Russell and the Toronto Police Service.
I recall being in the limo with Dougs family at his funeral a few years ago in Brockville. When we left the church we drove past hundreds of Toronto emergency services workers, just an unbelieveable amount of TPS folks.

RIP Sgt. I have a soft spot for the Toronto police- Im saddened by their loss in Toronto and our loss as police officersin general.

Statement from Premier of Ontario:
"On behalf of all Ontarians, I want to express my heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Toronto Police Sergeant Ryan Russell who died this morning in the line of duty.

All Ontarians are shocked by this tragedy, and we stand united in supporting Sergeant Russell's family, including his wife and young child.

Sergeant Russell's death is a grim reminder that we should never take the dangers of policing for granted. Those who serve never know when they may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. Coming from a police family, Sergeant Russell knew the risks involved when he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father.

Let us always be grateful for the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who uphold the law and keep us safe."
I got this in an e-mail this evening from a former colleague. I thought it worth reprinting here...

The Day You Dread - by Christine Russell (Sgt. Ryan Russell's wife)

You never think this day would happen. Sometimes I thought about it just before falling asleep, because I was at home safe while he was out working the shifts that leave us all so vulnerable to these worrisome thoughts. But those are just silly thoughts, a last moment to ponder before drifting off.

I honestly never worried about Ryan’s job. I knew he was well trained, I knew he worked in teams, I knew he knew what he was doing out there. I admired him for being a Police Officer. I respected the job. I knew when we got married that I was marrying a cop. Marriage to a cop comes with many days, nights, weekends, holidays, and special occasions spent alone. I knew that, I got that. I also worked shifts, so we both understood the importance of making the most of our time together.

When you think about the "day" it happens, you get this visualization of sorrowful Police Officers knocking on your door to break your heart and deliver the tragic news. Unfortunately it was not that Hollywood moment, it was much worse than anything Hollywood could produce.

Ryan was on day shift January 12th. I heard him showering around 4 a.m., and as usual I fell right back asleep. I was up and out of the house by 7 a.m. I dropped off Nolan at daycare, and then began my usual drive into work. The roads were in terrible condition, so much snow and poor visibility. My SUV struggled to make it out of our neighbourhood onto Kingston Road .

I listened to the radio for updates on road conditions and accidents. I heard the news that a Police Officer had been injured by a snowplow, but thought nothing other than it must have been a vehicular collision. Finally I made it onto the Gardiner and I called Ryan and left him a message that Nolan was dropped off and the roads were terrible and I was going to be late for work. Not 5 seconds later my phone rang, blocked caller ID, I naturally assumed it was Ryan calling me back.

The voice on the other end was not Ryan though. It was his friend and colleague, Tom Steeves. I just started blabbing, telling Tom, Ryan was on day shift and he had court today, and try him on his cell. I got the awkward pauses and sighs and then Tom asked me where I was? I said I was driving to work, why? Tom said where are you exactly? I knew from that moment...I don’t know how or why, but I just knew.

I exited at Spadina in a panic and tried to figure out how to flag down a cop for help. Tom begged me to pull over and wait, saying they would come to me. I just kept driving focused on finding St. Mike’s hospital.

I hung up on Tom and somehow I was able to continue driving, while barely seeing through my tears, and made the dreaded Hollywood calls. First call was to my mom in Peterborough . I told her Ryan was hurt and she needed to come to Toronto right away. Second call was to Ryan’s parents in Florida . I told Ryan’s dad, Glenn, he needed to come home, get on a plane and come home now. I found out later, strangely enough, both my mom, and Ryan’s dad had been watching CP24 in two different countries, at the same time, and happened to see the same footage, and they both knew that Ryan was more than hurt.

I finally pulled over at Queen and Yonge and waited. I could see St. Mike’s hospital one block away. I wanted to run there as fast as I could but my legs would not move.

Finally I saw a cruiser coming for me. The Sergeant who drove me one block to St. Mike’s could not look into my eyes. I asked him if Ryan was ok. He kept his eyes forward while the tears poured down his face. I knew it was fatal.

I was swarmed by a sea of high-ranking Police members as they whisked me through the emergency unit and into a small room. The lights in the room were dim, and I was forced to sit down. Finally the Hollywood moment...

After Chief Blair informed me Ryan had been killed, all I could ask was what Ryan was doing out there? Ryan’s a Sergeant, why was he out there? How did this happen? Ryan spent many dangerous years at Guns and Gangs, if it was going to happen during his career it would have been then not now, not as a Sergeant.

I remember crying but then the tears just stopped. I think my emotions went from shock, to grief, to disbelief, to anger, to resentment, to frustration and finally to self-pity. It was at the self-pity point (not even 20 minutes after being informed of my loss) that I was asked to consent to donate Ryan’s eyes. Ryan’s eyes. The most beautiful baby-blue eyes. His perfect 20/20 vision eyes. They told me it was the only part of him that could be salvaged. The most beautiful part was the only part. I immediately consented and I immediately began to feel better.

Ryan’s body was taken to the Coroners, and I was taken home. I was never allowed to hold his hand or kiss his face. Evidence needed to be preserved.

Family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, all began to fill up my house, all there to comfort me. Somehow I was fine, somehow I was comforting them?

From that point on I found strength. I was surrounded constantly by people who cared. I was assisted constantly by the Police Association. I was supported constantly by the Police Service and the public.

All of Ryan’s courage and bravery jumped into my soul and helped me get through the next week.

The visitation was overwhelming but I insisted on greeting every single person who wished to offer their sympathy, or gratitude, or last respects. I did it all for Ryan.

On the morning of Ryan’s funeral service, I was able to hold his hand one last time and kiss him goodbye. I told him I would make him proud and raise our son to be just like him.

As we followed the hearse, I took every moment in. Citizens outside the funeral home lining the streets, opposing traffic stopping, on ramps blocked off, motorists saluting, the vacated highways, the peaceful journey into Toronto along the Highway of Heroes.

We staged in front of 52 Division. The bagpipes began, and slowly the crowds marched. I saw the faces, the tears, the hands over the hearts, the saluting. I heard the K9’s crying, I heard the sounds of silence in the busiest city in Canada .

It was all for Ryan. It was all from you.

Thank you for allowing me to tell you about the day you think will never happen.

Thank you for being brave and for being supportive.

Thank you for serving and protecting.

Thank you.

You are all heroes in life, and remember, there will be an answer, let it be...

With the utmost respect,

Christine Russell


EDITED to add that this letter was originally printed in the Toronto Police Association's magazine: 'Tour of Duty'. 

Nice model of his car:
The Dupont parkette, near Dupont St. and Avenue Rd., was renamed for Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, who died in the line of duty in January.

The park is just blocks from the spot where Russell was struck by a stolen snowplow driven by a man without shoes. At the wheel was Richard Kachkar, who has since been charged with first-degree murder.

Bump with the latest  from the courts....
The man who killed Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell while driving a stolen snowplow has been found not criminally responsible.

Richard Kachkar, 46, stood expressionless as the jury foreman read the verdict aloud in Superior Court Wednesday. The victim’s widow, Christine Russell, bowed her head as other friends and family dabbed their eyes with tissues. A small group of uniformed police officers were also in attendance.

Jurors deliberated for about two full days in the two-month first-degree murder trial, which focused exclusively on the question of intent.

It was never in dispute that Kachkar was driving the snowplow that fatally struck Sgt. Russell on the morning of Jan. 12, 2011, but the defence argued he was in a psychotic state at the time, and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions.

The court heard weeks of evidence about Kachkar’s apparent decline in the weeks and months before the slaying. Estranged from his family, he drifted between shelters and a friend’s couch, drawing up bizarre business plans that included a partnership with American socialite Kim Kardashian ....
National Post, 27 Mar 13