Calgary police said Sgt. Andrew Harnett was killed while on the job Thursday evening, becoming the 12th officer in the service’s history to die in the line of duty.
Harnett was conducting a New Years Eve traffic stop when he was struck by an SUV that police said was fleeing the scene, in the area of Falconridge Boulevard and Falconridge Drive N.E.
Police said despite attempts by his colleagues and members of EMS, Harnett died as a result of his injuries.
“This is an announcement that no chief of police wants to make,” Chief Mark Neufeld said Friday morning.
“But because of some senseless criminal actions, our service and our community is mourning on this first day of 2021.
“More importantly, a family has lost a son, a sibling has lost a brother, a spouse has lost a partner and many, many members of our service have lost a really good friend.”
Investigators believed a 17-year-old was behind the wheel of the vehicle when it struck Harnett. Global News is not naming the 17-year-old in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
He and the 19-year-old passenger, Amir Abdulrahman, are both charged with murder, and turned themselves in at police headquarters at about 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“Today is the day that I’ve had nightmares about. Having to stand in front of you, our membership and the public to announce the loss of one of our officers, one of our guardians and unquestionably one of the best,” Neufeld said.
“He will be greatly missed by all.”
Harnett is the first Calgary Police Service officer to die in the line of duty in more than 19 years.
On Oct. 17, 2001, Const. Darren Beatty was critically injured during a training exercise at the former District 7 training facility.
About a year earlier, Const. John Petropoulos lost his life when he fell through a false ceiling while investigating a break-in at a business in southeast Calgary on Sept. 29, 2000. Petropoulos fell nine feet, sustained severe head injuries and died later that day in hospital.
On Oct. 8, 1993, Const. Rick Sonnenberg was killed while attempting to lay down a spike belt in an attempt to stop a stolen vehicle. A youth was convicted of criminal negligence causing death, hit and run and possession of a stolen vehicle.
On Sept. 22, 1992, Const. Rob Vanderwiel was shot and killed during a traffic stop. Vanderwiel was shot in the back of the neck while returning to his vehicle to verify the driver’s identification. The constable died at the scene. The driver of the vehicle was charged and convicted of first-degree murder.
On May 24, 1977, Const. Bill Shelever and his partner were questioning an armed robbery suspect when the suspect pulled a gun and demanded the officers’ weapons. Shelever was shot in the head while attempting to disarm him. His partner was shot in the leg and foot but managed to shoot and wound the suspect. Shelever died two days later. The offender was convicted of murder and attempted murder.
On March 12, 1976, Staff Sgt. Keith Harrison responded to a holdup alarm at a credit union. He followed the suspects’ vehicle as it left the scene. When the suspects realized Harrison was following them, they forced a confrontation with the officer and a shootout ensured. Harrison was shot in the abdomen and died in hospital. Two people were later convicted of murder along with a number of other charges.
On Dec. 20, 1974, Det. Boyd Davidson was one of several officers who responded to a call after officers were shot at by a suspect. A shootout followed between the suspect, who was hiding in a garage, and police. Davidson died from a shot in the neck, while six other officers were wounded. The offender also died at the scene.
On Nov. 4, 1957, Const. Ken Delmage died when the motorcycle he was operating was involved in a collision with a vehicle at a downtown intersection. Delmage died in hospital two days after the collision.
On May 23, 1941, Const. Wilf Cox was heading to direct traffic for a funeral when his motorcycle tire got caught in a street railway track. He was thrown off the motorcycle and died while being transported to hospital.
On June 13, 1933, Insp. Joe Carruthers was killed while confronting a burglary suspect in an alley. Carruthers was shot in the chest by the suspect. The killer was never found.
On July 2, 1917, Const. Arthur Duncan responded to a scene where stolen property was being recovered from under a building. It was suggested Duncan surprised the culprits and was shot in the jaw and chest. The killer was never found.