People Lined Highway Overpasses For The Procession That Took A Slain OPP Officer Back Home
A police funeral for Grzegorz Pierzchala is set for January 4.
The body of slain Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala has been brought back to his hometown after a police procession took place Friday morning.
Highway overpasses and local streets were lined with people and police officers paying their respects as the procession made its way from the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto starting at 9:00 a.m. and moved northbound to a funeral home in his hometown of Barrie, Ontario.
A police funeral for Pierzchala is set to take place on January 4.
"Our hearts are broken," said OPP Constable Ed Sanchuk in a video, in which he was visibly fighting back tears. "But, we're gonna get Constable Pierzchala home today."
\u201cProvincial Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala will be escorted from the coroners building in Toronto to Barrie beginning at 9 am this morning. \nThe public is welcome to pay tribute from overpasses along the way. #HeroesInLife @HaldimandCounty\n#HaldimandOPP ^es\u201d— OPP West Region (@OPP West Region) 1672408361
In a live stream of the procession led by OPP Sgt Kerry Schmidt, he spoke with one of Pierzchala's platoon mates who shared stories about the young constable's short time with the force and him having achieved his childhood dream of becoming a police officer.
"Thank you for everyone who is set up here," said Schmidt as the procession passed under its first overpass, lined by officers saluting and paying their respects. "This is an absolutely beautiful sight."
Pierzchala was killed on December 28, the same day he was told he passed his probation period as an OPP officer.
He was responding to a vehicle in a ditch at the intersection of Indian Line and Concession 14, roughly 90 minutes west of Toronto, just after 2:30 p.m, and was shot moments after he arrived on the scene.
25-year-old Randall McKenzie and 30-year-old Brandi Stewart-Speary have both been charged with first-degree murder in his death.
The pair are due in court again in mid-January.
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique called the death "preventable" as McKenzie has been prohibited from accessing firearms and had a history of violent crimes.
McKenzie was also granted bail in June under strict conditions that included wearing a GPS monitor and that he report to police twice per week, but according to court documents obtained by CTV, a warrant was issued for his arrest in August after he didn't show up for a court date.
Police said Pierzchala is the fourth OPP officer to be killed on duty in 2022.