There is going to be a funeral for a hero in Toronto, Ontario this week. He wasn’t the type of hero I like to read about in comics or watch on film.
He was the type of hero I would like to be.
He ran around a corner completely blind to just what was waiting for him, although he was certain that whatever it was, Death would be waiting right beside it. For a police officer, Death is a constant companion, shadowing their movements, haunting their dreams and always waiting to strike.
Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, was slain in the line of duty on January 12, leaving behind his wife Christine and two-year-old son Nolan. The 11-year veteran, whose father was a Toronto police officer, was promoted to sergeant in August 2010 after spending about four years with the guns and gangs task force.
A stolen snow plow rampaged for two hours through the streets of Toronto until Sgt. Russell responded to a call from a taxi driver whose cab had been hit twice by suspect Richard Kachkar, 44, of no fixed address. When the two met, Kachkar is alleged to have driven the plow directly at the officer, who was struck and suffered massive head trauma.
A layer of winter snow fell upon his broken body as he lay bleeding on the cold streets of the city he pledged to protect. He was pronounced dead at St. Michael’s Hospital.
His funeral will be Tuesday and will be attended by hundreds of his fellow officers from all over Canada, each of whom will no doubt feel the presence of Death waiting for them as well.
But that won’t stop them from going back to work the next day on the streets they have pledged to protect.
That’s the difference between police officers and the rest of us; they assume each day will be their last. If their moment does arrive, they do not flee or cower as most would.
No, if their companion appears in front of them, they run to him so that others may live to walk through life for at least one more day.
- Camera captured events leading to officers death by stolen snowplow (theglobeandmail.com)
- Police lay murder charge in snowplow death of Toronto officer (theglobeandmail.com)
- Hundreds turn out to mourn slain officer (thestar.com)