Slain officer laid to rest; funeral attended by thousands in law enforcement

Pallbearers carry the casket of OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala after his funeral service at the Sadlon Arena in Barrie, Ont., Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn.

Members of the Kingston Police and local representatives of the OPP were in attendance at the Sadlon Arena in Barrie today, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, at a private funeral service for Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Constable Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala, a member of the Haldimand County Detachment, who was killed in the line of duty.

Prior to the funeral, interim Chief of Kingston Police Scott Fraser provided the following statement: “Honouring our fallen colleague is a very difficult and emotional path. Through attendance, we show support for not only the family and friends, but also for the broader law enforcement family and community.”

“We understand the risk we take each day when we put on the uniform and go to work, as there no longer is a call which can be described as ‘routine’,” Fraser continued. “On January 4, 2023, officers from the Kingston Police will attend and pay tribute to Constable Pierzchala. Emergency Responders make a commitment to their community and each other.” 

The private service was attended by Constable Pierzchala’s family, their guests, members of the Ontario Provincial Police, representatives from other police services, Canadian Armed Forces members, and emergency services personnel and officials, as well as dignitaries including Premier Doug Ford and The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Bill Dickson, Acting Manager of OPP Media Relations, estimated that well over 7,500 members of the OPP and other law enforcement agencies were in attendance at the funeral.

Provincial Constable Pierzchala had just completed his probationary period as an OPP officer. Prior to becoming an officer, he had served as a Special Constable at Queen’s Park Detachment and had previously served with the Canadian Armed Forces.

“All OPP members join Greg’s family in mourning the sudden and horrific loss of this young officer. Greg had just embarked on his childhood dream to be a police officer, only to have his dream tragically cut short while performing his duties,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.

On Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, shortly after 2:30 p.m., Pierzchala responded to a vehicle in the ditch at the intersection of Indian Line and Concession 14, west of Hagersville. When he arrived, he was shot.

Pierzchala was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Constable Pierzchala was 28 years old and had been an OPP officer for just over a year.

Two people have been charged in connection with his murder. Randall McKenzie, age 25 of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, and Brandi Stewart-Sperry, age 30 of Hamilton, are both charged with first degree murder.

McKenzie and Stewart-Sperry were arrested in the area following a major search involving OPP Aviation, Emergency Response Team, Canine, Tactics and Rescue Unit, local officers, and members of the Six Nations Police Service. A semi-automatic handgun was seized during the arrest. Both of the accused have been remanded in custody and are scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Cayuga on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.

Investigators, under the direction of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch, want to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who may have dashcam video. Anyone with information should contact the Haldimand OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). 

Expressions of condolence to Provincial Constable Pierzchala’s family and friends can be sent via the Provincial Constable Pierzchala memorial page on the OPP website. A book of condolences can be signed in person at the Haldimand County OPP Detachment located at 72 Highway 54 in Cayuga.

Gifts of flowers in memory of Constable Pierzchala can be sent to Adams Funeral Home and Cremation Services Ltd at 445 St. Vincent Street in Barrie, or to Holy Spirit Parish at 650 Essa Road in Barrie. Donations in lieu of flowers can be provided to the Holy Spirit Parish at 650 Essa Road in Barrie.

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