‘Words cannot describe our grief’: South Simcoe Police identify two officers who were fatally shot

Police had responded to a report of a disturbance at a home

With files from The Canadian Press

South Simcoe Police have identified the two officers who were shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire with a man at home in Innisfil on Tuesday night.

At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Acting Police Chief John Van Dyke identified the officers as 33-year-old Constable Devon Northrup and 54-year-old Constable Morgan Russell.

He said Northrup had been with South Simcoe Police for six years and was currently assigned to the Community Mobilization and Engagement Unit.

“This is a heartbreaking time for our police service, the families impacted, our emergency services personnel and our communities. Our immediate focus is to support our members and their grieving families,” said Van Dyke.

He said Northrup is survived by his parents and many close friends, and added that the officer also served as a member of the mental health Crisis Outreach and Support Team and the Emergency Response Unit.

The second officer, according to Van Dyke, was a 33-year veteran of the service. He said Constable Russell was assigned to uniform patrol and was trained as a crisis negotiator. The officer is survived by his wife and two teenage children.

“This is personal for me,” added Van Dyke. “I went to police college with Morgan more than 33 years ago.”

South Simcoe Police news conference/Oct 12, 2022/Barrie 360

He said York Regional Police have been asked to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the shooting.

“We must acknowledge that Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has invoked its mandate. I am therefore limited in what information we can share,” Van Dyke explained. “We ask for your patience and privacy as we attempt to come to terms with the loss of two members of our family.”

The SIU says police had been called to a home in the area of 25th Side Road and 9th Line in Innisfil around 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

A growing memorial outside the South Simcoe Police Service in Innisfil/Oct 12, 2022/Barrie 360

Inside the residence, the agency says there was an exchange of gunfire between a 23-year-old man and police.

The two officers died in hospital and the 23-year-old died at the scene. 

SIU spokesperson Kristy Denette confirmed there were family members in the house that contacted police, and that the man who died was a resident of the home.

Six investigators and three forensic investigators with the S-I-U have been assigned to the case. 

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