Toronto police officer killed in shooting remembered as ‘outstanding’ veteran, friend
September 14, 2022 By The Canadian Press
Sept. 13, 2022, Toronto, Ont. – A Toronto police officer fatally shot while eating lunch in what police are calling an ambush was remembered Tuesday as an extraordinary colleague and human being.
“We’ve lost an outstanding member of the service and an outstanding individual in Andrew,” police chief James Ramer said at a previously scheduled meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board, which started with a moment of silence for the slain officer.
“We give our deepest condolences to his family and our membership is going to work through it and we will honour him appropriately in due course.”
Police have said Const. Andrew Hong, 48, a traffic services officer who had been with Toronto police for 22 years, was killed in an unprovoked attack Monday afternoon in Mississauga, Ont. Sources say Hong was shot in the head while eating lunch alone inside a Tim Hortons.
He is survived by his wife, two teenage children and his parents.
The Toronto Police Services Board said in a statement that the city is mourning Hong, a dedicated police officer, father, husband, son, brother-in-law and friend.
“By all accounts, P.C. Hong was an exceedingly kind and positive person, gentle and caring, funny and warm, who loved his family, and did his job with extraordinary commitment and great professionalism,” the board wrote.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg wrote in a tweet of his “profound sadness” over the death of Hong, who he said was “an officer, a gentleman, an incredible human being, and a close personal friend.”
Solicitor General Michael Kerzner said in a statement that he extends his condolences to Hong’s family and friends.
“We are thinking of Constable Hong today, a man, a husband, a father, a son, a friend, and a person with unassailable integrity – a person whose heart was made for friendship,” Kerzner wrote.
This case is a particular tragedy because Hong appears to have been ambushed simply because he was a police officer, said Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, who is a former Toronto police chief.
“It’s a reminder, I think, of the risks that our officers face for us every single day, when they when they go out to do their job of keeping us all safe,” he said at a Liberal caucus retreat in New Brunswick.
“The sacrifice of that officer, his family, should be grieved by the entire city. It will be.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford visited the traffic services division Tuesday morning to support Hong’s colleagues, calling his death “a senseless tragedy that took the life of an incredible officer.”
“We just want to send a message to their family, but also the larger police family, that we’ll always have their backs,” Ford told television station CP24 outside. I don’t think there’s a person in Ontario that’s out there that’s not feeling a loss.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory said everyone in the city is grieving. He extended his condolences to Hong’s family and colleagues, and said it’s a reminder that police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep their communities safe.
“A lot of them that we met this morning at the traffic services had to get up this morning and come to work,” Tory said at the police board meeting.
“They continue to serve us and to protect us and that is – in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy like this – something that is, you know, quite a remarkable part of the job they do for us every day.”
Peel police are co-ordinating a multi-jurisdictional investigation into shooting scenes spanning three Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area cities Monday afternoon that left Hong, another victim and the suspect dead, as well as three others injured.
Police say Hong was killed while on break during training in Mississauga and another person was injured.
A steady stream of community members visited the site Tuesday to lay flowers and pay their respects. Tania Sukraj works at a nearby restaurant and said the shooting hit home because her uncle worked for the Toronto police. So many people’s lives have been forever changed, she said.
“I’m disgusted, disgusted,” Sukraj said. “These guys working in (the Tim Hortons), probably traumatized for life. The rest of the victims – my heartfelt condolences for the other victim that passed away and the rest that were injured.”
Tina Baldassi lives nearby and brought a small planter of yellow chrysanthemums.
“I felt compelled to come to pay my respect, first of all, and to offer something in the way of condolences and sympathy to his family and to the police department, to the Toronto Police Department, of course, primarily, but also the Peel department,” she said.
Officials say they believe the same suspect is responsible for a second shooting less than an hour later at a Milton, Ont., auto body shop that killed one person and injured two others.
A chase on the highway that involved several police forces eventually led officers to the Hamilton cemetery, sources said.
That’s where Ontario’s police watchdog says officers shot the man.
Four officers, from both the Hamilton and Halton Regional police services shot at the suspect in the cemetery, the Special Investigations Unit said.
The SIU, which investigates police when someone is injured or killed when officers are involved, has sent a large team to the sprawling scenes with seven investigators and two forensic investigators, said spokeswoman Kristy Denette.
“There’s a number of firearms that have been looked at,” she said. “It’s not clear whose firearms sort of belong to who at this point…There are a number of bullet casings scattered throughout the scene, so it’s some time just to process everything.”
The man’s family was notified of his death last night, but they have not consented to the public release of his name, Denette said.
Peel Regional Police identified the suspect as 30-year-old Shawn Petry in its provincewide emergency alert on Monday, which warned the public of an “active shooter, armed and dangerous.”
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