2 charged with murder in killing of Ontario police officer

December 29, 2022 GMT

HAGERSVILLE, Ontario (AP) — Murder charges were filed Wednesday against two people arrested after an Ontario Provincial Police officer was shot to death while on duty.

Court documents show that Randall McKenzie, 25, and Brandi Crystal Lyn Stewart-Sperry, 30, each faces one count of first-degree murder. The two are set for a court appearance Jan. 17.

Police said Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala, 28, was killed Tuesday afternoon while responding to a vehicle in a ditch just west of Hagersville, Ontario, about 28 miles southwest of Hamilton.

Thomas Carrique, commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, said at a news conference that Pierzchala was “essentially ambushed” after arriving at the scene and had ``absolutely no chance of being able to defend himself.″

Police were still investigating the shooting to determine a motive and other details, he said.

Carrique alleged the suspects robbed a citizen of their vehicle at the scene after the officer was shot.

Pierzchala had been with the force for just over a year and had recently been notified that he had passed his 10-month probation period, the commissioner said.

Haldimand County Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley visited the shooting scene Wednesday with other community members to pay tribute to the officer.

``It is heartbreaking, disturbing, very upsetting for our community,″ she said. ``These things just don’t happen in Haldimand County.″