Toronto Police Constable Jeffrey Northrup was killed after being struck by a vehicle in what investigators are calling an “intentional and deliberate act” in the parking garage at city hall early Friday morning, police say.
“This event will have a profound impact on our service, on our city and all the members of the policing community,” interim Toronto police Chief James Ramer told reporters at the scene later Friday morning.
Ramer said the incident happened shortly after midnight in the city hall parkade, located near Bay and Queen streets.
Northrup and his partner were responding to a 911 call for a robbery in progress when they were struck, Ramer said, noting both were dressed in plainclothes but could be identified by nametags around their necks.
Although Ramer said preliminary information on the events leading up to the incident is limited, he told reporters that the suspect was initially outside the vehicle when officers first approached him.
He also confirmed that there were other occupants in the vehicle with the suspect, but he wouldn’t provide further details.
Northrup was transported without vital signs to nearby St. Michael’s Hospital, where he died. His partner was transported to the same hospital, where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
A suspect has been arrested, Ramer said, and the Toronto police homicide unit has taken over the investigation. He noted that a collision reconstruction unit would also be on scene.
Police say they will provide an update when charges have been laid against the suspect.
“We believe this was an intentional and deliberate act,” Ramer said.
Northrup leaves behind his wife, three children and mother. Although Ramer didn’t know the constable’s exact age when asked by a reporter, he said Northrup was around 50 years old.
Ramer said that Northrup started his 31-year career with the Toronto Police Service with court services and was then assigned to 11 Division when he became a police officer in 1999. He had been a member of 52 Division since 2008 and was also a member of the Chief’s Ceremonial Unit.
Northrup had been training new officers until April, when Ramer said he requested to return to the major crimes unit.
“He was very proud of the job he did,” the chief said.
Ramer said he and members of the Toronto Police Association visited Northrup’s family overnight to deliver the “devastating news.”
“It goes without saying that it will be most devastating to the family, colleagues and friends of Constable Northrup,” Ramer said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory also spoke to reporters on Friday, expressing his condolences to the victim’s family and friends.
“On behalf of the three million people who our police officers serve [and] the men and the women of the police service, I begin by extending to the family of officer Northrup our deepest condolences,” he said.
Tory said the city will offer any support it can to the family and members of the service and that flags at City of Toronto locations will be flown at half-mast until further notice.
“It’s a terrible, terrible day,” he said.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also offered his sympathies to those close to Northrup.
“I’m terribly saddened to hear the tragic news of Const. Jeff Northrup who was killed in the line of duty,” tweeted Ford. “Jeff served his community for 31 years. My deepest condolences to his wife, three kids and the entire Toronto Police Service. We are with you mourning this devastating loss.”
Jon Reid, president of the Toronto Police Association, said that when he spoke to Northrup’s mother earlier Friday, she said, “‘You know, he died doing something that he loved.'”
“It speaks to the kind of officer he was and the dedication that he had,” Reid said.
He said Northrup’s entire family is devastated by this “senseless act of violence.”
“This only goes to highlight the risks that our officers take every day.”
The police association said it is attending to Northrup’s wife and children and asks that the public respect their privacy.
In a statement issued Friday, the Toronto Police Services Board said it hopes members find support in one another.
“We know that the Toronto Police Service is very much a family in many ways, and the loss of one member has a deep and profound impact on the entire organization,” the statement said.
“In this time of extraordinary grief and sadness, as we struggle, together, to deal with this senseless loss of life, we hope that members find solace and support in each other, and in the various supports and resources available to them through the service.”
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