Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, South Simcoe Police Acting Chief John Van Dyke identified the deceased as Const. Devon Northrup and Const. Morgan Russell.
“Words cannot describe our grief,” he said.
The force said officers received reports of a disturbance at a home in the 25th Sideroad and 9th Line area at around 7:55 p.m. on Tuesday.
The province’s police watchdog — the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) — said there was an “exchange of gunfire” between a man and officer inside a home.
The force said both officers were taken to a local hospital. One officer died a short time later.
In an update on Wednesday, the force confirmed the second officer, who had been airlifted to a Toronto trauma center in critical condition, had died.
The suspect, a 23-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene after a confrontation with police, the SIU said.
Van Dyke said Northrup was 33 years old and was a member of the service for six years. He was assigned to the Community Mobilization and Engagement Unit.
“Constable Northrup is survived by his partner, his parents and his many close friends,” Van Dyke said. “He also served as a member of our mental health Crisis Outreach and Support Team and the Emergency Response Unit.”
Van Dyke said Russell was 54-years-old and was a 33-year member of the service.
“He was assigned to uniform patrol and was a trained crisis negotiator. He is survived by his wife and two teenage children,” Van Dyke said.
Van Dyke said this is a “heartbreaking time for our police service, the families impacted, our emergency services personnel and our communities.”
He said the force’s “immediate focus” is to “support our members and their grieving families.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford called the incident “heartbreaking.”
“I’ve been on the phone all night all this morning,” he said. “First of all I want to send our condolences and our prayers and thoughts out to the family and friends and to all the police officers out there. They’re such a close-knit community and just especially to South Simcoe Police Services.”
Ford said he spoke with the chief and the president of the association, adding that he will be heading to Innisfil at 5 p.m. to “show them our support.”
“Another senseless tragedy, absolutely senseless,” he said.
In a tweet, the Town of Innisfil said it is a “devastating day for Innisfil.”
“We’re heartbroken at the loss of our officers from the South Simcoe Police Service.”
“On behalf of all members of council and staff from Innisfil and @TownofBWG, we extend our thoughts to the officers’ families and all members of our emergency services teams,” the tweet read.
In a post on Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is “sending his deepest condolences” to the force “as they mourn the passing of two officers who were killed in the line of duty.”
“My thoughts are also with the loved ones of these officers and the entire Innisfil community,” he wrote.
Barrie Police said the force’s “hearts are heavy today as we mourn two South Simcoe Police officers killed in the line of duty last night.”
“Our thoughts are with the officers’ families, friends and colleagues on this tragic day,” a tweet read. “#HeroesinLife.”
The commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Thomas Carrique offered his condolences as well, saying on Twitter that the thoughts of OPP members are “with the families of the two South Simcoe Police Service officers who died after an incident last night and with all members of the South Simcoe Police.”
-with files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues
&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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