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‘We’re just broken’: Condolences pour in for family of slain Ontario police officers

South Simcoe Police. Twitter / South Simcoe police

In a small town like Innisfil Ont., it’s common for most people to know each other, making the loss of two South Simcoe police officers hit very close to home for many in the community.

Condolences are pouring in after Const. Morgan Russell and Const. Devon Northrup were fatally shot in the Southern Ontario town Tuesday night.

Const. Devon Northrup (left) and Const. Morgan Russell are shown South Simcoe Police Service handout photos. The officers were killed after responding to a disturbance call at a home in Innisfil, Ont. on Tuesday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-South Simcoe Police Service **MANDATORY CREDIT**. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-South Simcoe Police Service

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“To say that our community is devastated would be an understatement,” said Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

“Innisfil and Bradford are small towns, and South Simcoe police are beloved in our communities – so well-respected by everyone and well-loved – we’re just broken.”

“Our hearts are broken for the families and for police colleagues. It’s a dark day. It’s going to take us a long time to process this, but we will be there to support our South Simcoe police colleagues, and we will be there to support the impacted families and friends.”

Dollin told reporters that both men were known in the community, noting that she and Russell were in the same golf league. “He’s been with us for a long, long time and will be so missed by the community.”

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“Words cannot describe our grief,” South Simcoe police acting police chief John Van Dyke said during the news conference Wednesday.

“This is a heartbreaking time for our police service,” Van Dyke continued, “(for) the families impacted, our emergency services personnel and our communities.”

“This is personal for me. I went to police college with Morgan 33 years ago,” Van Dyke said, fighting back tears.

Russell was 54 years old and was a 33-year member of the service. Northrup was 33 years old and was a six-year member of the service.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau offers ‘deepest condolences’ to families of 2 police officers killed in Ontario'
Trudeau offers ‘deepest condolences’ to families of 2 police officers killed in Ontario

South Simcoe police say the two officers were shot inside a home on the 25th Sideroad and 9th Line at around 7:55 p.m. Oct. 11 after a report of a disturbance.

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Both officers were rushed to a local hospital, police said. Northrup died a short time later. Russell was airlifted to a Toronto trauma centre in critical condition, where he later died of his injuries.

In a release, police say Northrup is survived by his partner, his parents and his many close friends.

He also served as a member of the local mental health Crisis Outreach and Support Team and the Emergency Response Unit.

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Police say Russell, who was assigned to uniform patrol and was a trained crisis negotiator, is survived by his wife and two children.

A post on the South Simcoe Police Facebook page earlier this year congratulated Russell for his years of service, presenting him with his 30-year Police Exemplary Service medal.

“Thank you for your years of dedicated service to our communities PC Russell,” the Facebook Post read.

Condolences pour in

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Pictures posted on Twitter by the South Simcoe Police Service show people lined up along bridges over the highway saluting the line of police cars as the fallen officer was transported from the hospital to the Office of the Chief Coroner.

In a tweet Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford shared his condolences, saying he was “heartbroken” by the news.

“I’m heartbroken to learn that two @SouthSimcoePS officers were killed in the line of duty,” Food said in a tweet. “We are praying for the officers’ families and all the police officers who put their lives on the line to protect our communities.”

The Town of Innisfil posted condolences for the two slain officers on Twitter on behalf of council, tweeting, “This is a devastating day for Innisfil.”

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“We’re heartbroken at the loss of our officers from @SouthSimcoePS,” the town’s tweet read. “On behalf of all members of Council & staff from Innisfil and @TownofBWG, we extend our thoughts to the officers’ families & all members of our emergency services teams.”

Condolences from police departments

Neighbouring police departments are also expressing their condolences for the families, friends and colleagues of the two officers lost.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn two South Simcoe police officers killed in the line of duty last night,” Barrie police posted on Twitter Wednesday. “Our thoughts are with the officers’ families, friends and colleagues on this tragic day. #HeroesinLife.”

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Toronto police helped South Simcoe police escort the bodies of the two officers to the Chief Coroners Office.

Toronto police chief James Ramer said Toronto police stand with the families and fellow officers.

“On behalf of all members of the @TorontoPolice, I offer our deepest sympathies to the families of these two fallen officers and to the members of the @SouthSimcoePS for this devastating loss. We stand with you in your grief,” Ramer wrote in a tweet.

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Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique also passed along condoles online.

“The thoughts of OPP members are with the families of the two South Simcoe Police Service officers who died after an incident last night and with all members of the @SouthSimcoePS #HeroesInLife,” Carrique tweeted.

– with files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues

Click to play video: '2 police officers killed after shooting at Innisfil, Ont. Home'
2 police officers killed after shooting at Innisfil, Ont. Home

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