files from The Canadian Press
An Ontario Provincial Police officer who was shot and killed in Haldimand County on Tuesday afternoon graduated from St. Joan of Arc high school in 2012, according to the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB).
OPP say Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was shot while responding to a vehicle in a ditch just west of Hagersville.
O-P-P Commissioner Thomas Carrique says Pierzchala had been notified earlier in the day that he had passed his 10-month probation period.
Carrique says the 28-year-old officer was previously a special constable at Queen’s Park and had been with the provincial police force for just over a year.
Charges against a 25-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman are expected to be announced on Wednesday.
The SMCDSB released a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying that Greg had made ‘an enduring and positive impact’ in his four years at the school, and he is fondly remembered by all those who knew him.
“He was very involved in school life – excelling in academics and athletics, and even achieved senior athlete of the year after qualifying for OFSAA in swimming and wrestling and participating in soccer, track and field, weight training and rowing. Greg exemplified Christian leadership in all aspects of his life and faithfully attended Mass at Holy Spirit Parish. He was always thoughtful, considerate, kind and followed his heart – he was the kind of guy who was committed to doing the right thing,” the statement said. “Greg was an inspiration and positive influence to all, even as a young high school student, because he approached his life with incredible determination, compassion and joy. It is not surprising that he followed a career path of service to others.”
“The St. Joan of Arc community and all of those he knew him will miss him greatly, but the legacy he left will not be forgotten. As a community, we will continue to pray for Greg’s family that they may find some comfort and peace during this difficult time.”
Spencer Lalonde of Submission Arts Academy in Barrie, where Pierzchala trained for more than two years, was rocked by his death.
“Greg was an amazing young man who loved his community and loved serving his community,” Lalonde told Barrie 360. “He was always positive, always smiling, always respectful and we will miss him dearly.”
Lalonde is putting together a fundraiser at the gym, though details are still coming together.
“We will raise funds for whatever charity his family thinks he would want us to donate to.”
At Barrie City Hall on Wednesday, flags were lowered to half-mast in honour of the fallen officer.