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Police officer killed in B.C. shooting described as a hero

Last Updated Nov 7, 2017 at 5:11 am EDT

The scene of an incident at Mount Lehman and Fraser Highway in Abbotsford. Two officers were hurt. (Courtesy Twitter @kaufchris)

An Abbotsford B.C. police officer who died after being shot in an exchange of gunfire has been described as a hero.

Abbotsford Police chief constable Bob Rich confirmed the death at a news conference on Monday afternoon. He says the Abbotsford Police Department initially received a call about a possible stolen vehicle outside a shopping complex on Mt Lehman Road, near Automall Drive.

Rich says the caller blocked the vehicle in, because he was so sure it was stolen.

“Unfortunately a male suspect emerged from that vehicle and began shooting at the caller, and others, with a shotgun.”

There were several 911 calls made, and APD officers arrived and tried to arrest the suspect. In an exchange of gunfire, an officer was shot and injured. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

“The horrible part of this story, our injured APD officer was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after he arrived,” Rich says,

The suspect left the scene in a stolen vehicle, and was apprehended at the intersection of Mt Lehman Rd and Fraser Highway.

“It was a very dynamic take-down.”

The suspect, an Alberta man in his 60s, has been arrested and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Another officer was injured, but is expected to be OK.

Chief Constable Rich met with the spouse of the dead officer, and delivered the news of his death face-to-face.

“The officer who gave his life today is a hero. He was protecting this community. He will always be my hero.”

Rich has thanked the other officers who responded.

“Our officers’ actions today, all of them, were absolutely heroic.”

“There were officers trying to heroically save the life of our member. There were officers immediately taking control of the scene. There were officers, when they responded to this, they responded in a way that was designed to protect the public. This person was trying to kill people, members of the public, and our members responded.”

IHIT has taken over the investigation.

Premier John Horgan has expressed his condolences on Twitter.

“Deeply saddened to hear of the death of an Abbotsford Police officer today. My heartfelt condolences go to the family, friends & colleagues.”

“As British Columbians, we are filled with grief at this tragic loss & give gratitude to those who put their lives on the line for us.”

People have been dropping off flowers at the locked doors of the Abbotsford police station.

IIO to investigate how suspect was injured

The Independent Investigations Office, which looks into officer-involved incidents, will investigate how the suspect sustained his injuries.

Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald says it’s unclear when they’ll interview the Alberta man.

“The last information we had is that he suffered non-life threatening injuries that we believe were the result of a gunshot, but we’re not certain. And we understand that he was conscious and talking.”

He says the IIO is obliged to investigate.

“Any time that an individual suffers serious injury that may have been caused by a police officer, we have a statutory obligation to investigate that, So it’s not like we have a choice.”