Feb 15 2016
A Quebec police officer who was killed on the weekend while responding to a domestic issue at a home is being mourned around the province, as the Ministry of Public Security and provincial police investigate the incident.
The province's police college in Nicolet has lowered its flags to half-mast to commemorate Thierry Leroux, 26, who was shot and killed as he and his partner responded to a domestic call in the tiny community of Lac-Simon, near Val-d'Or.
"The most important way I can pay tribute to him is to say there is no greater sacrifice than giving your life to help others. It's what he wanted to do, and it's what he did," said Michel Leroux, Thierry's father.
Leroux said his son always dreamed of being a police officer.
"When he signed up for police tech at College Alma, we had a conversation about the risks involved in becoming a police officer. But after that discussion, we never talked about it again."
Thierry Leroux, a native of Amos, Que., had been working in the community for only six months with the local aboriginal police force. This was his second contract.
Michel Leroux said he hopes there is a lesson to be learned so that no one has to die the way his son did.
The officer's death shocked students and staff at College Alma.
"He was a great police officer," Pierre Saint-Antoine, director of communications for the college, said Monday.
Serge Girard, the director of the college's police technology program, said, "Thierry was very sociable, very open, very involved during his three years in the program." He showed leadership skills as well, Girard said.
Police say one shot was fired from the home on Saturday night, killing Leroux and sending his partner to hospital to be treated for shock.
Leroux and his partner were officers with the local aboriginal police force in Lac-Simon, an Algonquin reserve near Val-d'Or, about 500 kilometres from Montreal in the province's Abitibi region.
Investigators say the gunman was 22-year-old Joseph Anthony Raymond-Papatie, who killed himself.
College Alma will set up a committee to review and possibly modify police training as investigators learn more about what happened in Lac-Simon.
Saint-Antoine says students are trained to deal with different situations.
"It's a moment of reflection for everyone to make sure you act with security, but you never know what can happen with this kind of intervention," Saint-Antoine said.
There are fewer open positions with Quebec police forces for new graduates due to provincial budget cuts, said Saint-Antoine. As a result, many students apply to work in First Nations communities.
"We have less promises to be hired from the regular police service in Quebec so some graduates do apply to aboriginal police services," Saint-Antoine said.
Students do not receive specific training for working in First Nations communities other than training in both English and French.
The Sûreté du Québec took over the investigation on Sunday. Under Quebec law, any incident involving a police officer in which a firearm is discharged must be investigated by a different police force.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees said in a statement that Leroux had been a member of the police force since August, employed by the Anishnabe Nation Tribal Council.
"We are shaken by this horrible news," CUPE spokesman Stéphane Lachance wrote.
"We offer our most sincere condolences to Thierry's family and loved ones."
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale issued a statement Monday, offering his condolences to Leroux's family.
"As a nation, we stand together with the police officers and citizens of Lac-Simon during this difficult time. We are truly grateful for their dedication and sacrifice," Goodale wrote.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said on Twitter that Quebec Aboriginal Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley was in contact with community leaders.
Members of the reserve held a march on Sunday afternoon to mourn the death of the officer, as well as the man who shot him.