Abbotsford police officer shot and killed in line of duty
Editor’s Note: A previous statement from Abbotsford Police said at least two officers were injured in the shooting. Abbotsford Police later clarified that one officer was shot. He later died of his injuries.
An Abbotsford police officer has died following a shooting Monday.
The officer was shot and seriously injured during a shootout with a suspect that started at 11:52 a.m.
The officer was rushed to hospital with serious injuries and passed away a short time later.
Police have not released his name but say his next-of-kin has been notified.
“The officer who gave his life today is a hero. He was protecting his community. He will always be my hero,” Abbotsford Police Chief Const. Bob Rich said.
“This person was trying to kill members of the public and our officers responded,” added Rich.
WATCH: Abbotsford Chief Const. Bob Rich addresses media
The suspect was also injured in the shooting. He was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A person at the scene shared a photo of the suspect with Global News.
Police say the suspect is in his 60s and from Alberta.
Police were called to the Fraser Valley Auto Mall Monday morning following the sighting of a stolen Mustang.
LISTEN: Abbotsford police officer shot dead in the line of duty
George MacDonald, the fleet manager at MSA Ford in the Auto Mall, told Global News that the Mustang was stolen on Saturday.
“At about 9:15 Saturday morning we had a customer come in, want to take a test drive on a Mustang. He walked in, one of the sales guys went to get the keys for him, he passed the customer the key, the guy put the licence plate on the back of the car, the guy sped off in the Mustang, never came back.”
MacDonald said they reported the car stolen to Abbotsford police on Saturday.
WATCH: Shooting leaves Abbotsford, BC police officer dead
On Monday they noticed what they believed to be the same Mustang, now with Alberta licence plates on it, at a nearby gas station.
They tried the remote key entry on the vehicle and it worked, so they called Abbotsford police.
“We were standing there for 15, 20 minutes. We’ve got the car blocked in, we don’t see the person that stole it. As we walked into Quiznos, one of the guys told me, ‘Hey George, can you come back, one of your customers is waiting for a key.'”
LISTEN: How the death of an officer affects the police community
“As I walked back [to the Auto Mall], got back here to the dealership with the key, shots fired,” MacDonald said.
“The guy apparently rammed the truck, fired three bullets into my lot manager’s truck, Corey, in his blue F150, and Mike, the sales manager ran one way and Corey ran the other way. The guy then jumped the curb with the Mustang and that’s when the takedown took place.
WATCH: Cellphone video captures Abbotsford police incident:
“He shot just as the cops were arriving. He tried to get my lot manager’s truck out of the way and my lot manager wouldn’t move so he fired bullets into the truck, trying to get him to move.
“As he jumped the curb, the cops were arriving and they chased him down the Mt. Lehman exit on the roundabout.”
Police say they received several reports of shots fired. When officers arrived they attempted to engage and arrest the suspect and that’s when the gunfire started.
WATCH: A witness tells Global News what he saw:
Nearby businesses were evacuated and the area was closed to the public.
Officers from the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. were called to the scene. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is assuming control of the investigation.
WATCH: Aerials of Fraser Valley Auto Mall following the police incident:
WATCH: Aerials of the aftermath of the police takedown on Mt Lehman.
Condolences pouring in
Flags outside the Abbotsford Police Department were lowered to half-mast Monday afternoon. Throughout the night members of the community dropped off flowers and cards of condolences.
Premier John Horgan tweeted his condolences on Monday afternoon.
Police departments and other first responders sent messages of support to the Abbotsford Police Department.
Since 1859, 120 law enforcement officers — including police, corrections, customs officers and sheriffs — have died in B.C. while serving the public.
The last officer to die in the line of duty was RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett, who was killed when her police cruiser was broadsided by a pickup truck in a Langford intersection in April of last year.
— With files from The Canadian Press
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.