One officer killed, two others in hospital after shooting east of Ottawa: OPP

The officers were responding to a report of a disturbance at a home

By Laura Osman in Bourget, Ont., and Jordan Omstead in Toronto

A police officer responding to a disturbance at a home east of Ottawa died after being shot Thursday while two of his colleagues remained in hospital with injuries, Ontario Provincial Police said, as local residents expressed shock at what happened.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique identified the officer who died as Sgt. Eric Mueller.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I regretfully advise that OPP Sgt. Eric Mueller has been killed in the line of duty,” Carrique wrote in a statement. “We anxiously await for further word on his fellow officers who are still at hospital.”

Ontario Provincial Police Association – Twitter

The three officers responded shortly after 2 a.m. to a disturbance at a home in Bourget, Ont., where someone reported hearing a gunshot, OPP said.

The officers were shot by someone at the home when they arrived, police said. All three officers were sent to an Ottawa hospital and one person was taken into custody, OPP said.

Helicopters flew over the small community of Bourget on Thursday morning and OPP vehicles were parked outside a home along Laval Street, where police say the shooting took place. Residents of the village, where conversations slip between French and English, said they were shaken by what happened.

“Something like this that you don’t think could happen so close to you, and it really makes you re-evaluate things,” said Madison Bach, who since January has lived in a house down the street with her husband and their six-month-old daughter.

Dan Brown, who lives about six kilometres from the scene, said he was awake around 2 a.m. when he heard the sound of police sirens and a series of low pops. A member at the nearby firing range, Brown said he immediately recognized the sound as gun fire.

“I knew right away what was going on,” he said. “It was like somebody’s getting shot or was shooting.”

Ashley Butler said she woke up to the sound of screeching car tires followed by gun shots. Butler, who lives around 100 metres down the road, said she ran to her daughter’s room to make sure she was safe.

“I was terrified,” she said. “But the first thing that goes through a parent’s head is, you know, is my kid OK.”

It was only later on Thursday morning that she learned what had happened.

“It rocked me a little bit,” she said. “It kind of shook me to know that happened so close to home.”

Jaclyn Young also said the shooting had placed her family on edge.

“It’s nerve-racking to know that this happened,” she said. “An officer lost his life in our town due to protecting our community.”

The OPP Association said Mueller had a wife and two young children.

“This is devastating,” association spokesman Scott Mills said in a phone interview. “When is this going to stop?”

Last weekend, the names of four officers killed while on duty last year were added to the Ontario Police Memorial as part of an annual remembrance ceremony.

Toronto police Const. Andrew Hong was shot in what police described as an ambush on Sept. 12 at a Mississauga, Ont., Tim Hortons.

A month later, South Simcoe Police constables Devon Northrup and Morgan Russell were killed after they responded to a disturbance call in Innisfil, Ont.

On Dec. 27, OPP say Const. Greg Pierzchala was fatally shot in an ambush while responding to call for a vehicle in a ditch.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford extended his thoughts to the family of Mueller, who he said was “senselessly killed in the line of duty.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also sent his condolences to Mueller’s loved ones, describing the news coming out of Bourget as “awful.”

North of Bourget, flags were lowered to half-mast Thursday at the Rockland city hall, the seat of the local municipality.

“There are no words that can express the pain that the residents of the City of Clarence-Rockland are feeling at this time,” Mayor Mario Zanth wrote in a statement.

– with files from Sharif Hassan in Toronto.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2023.