The man accused of fatally shooting an Ontario Provincial Police officer and injuring two others early Thursday morning in eastern Ontario has been charged with murder, the force says.
Just after 2 a.m. on Thursday, officers from the Russell County OPP detachment were called to a home on Laval Street in Bourget, Ont., about 50 kilometres east of Ottawa, after someone reported a disturbance and said they heard a gunshot.
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said three officers responded to the home and were all shot by a man. One of the officers died, and two others were rushed to hospital.
Carrique named the officer killed in the line of duty as 42-year-old Sgt. Eric Mueller.
OPP commissioner remembers life of Sgt. Eric Mueller, officer shot dead near Ottawa
Mueller was a 21-year officer with the Ontario Provincial Police. He had started as a special constable and was then hired in 2006 as a provincial constable. In 2018, he was promoted to sergeant.
“Eric was an exemplary officer, a family man,” Carrique said. “He is described by his colleagues as a coach, a mentor, someone that everybody looked up to.”
“And again, today, our hearts are broken as we remember Eric. We stand beside his family and we focus our attentions on the recovery of the officers who have been physically injured and emotionally impacted.”
Carrique said one of the injured officers has since been released from hospital and is recovering at home, a 35-year-old man with 10 years on the job.
The other officer, a 43-year-old man with 19 years of service, is still in hospital in serious but stable condition as he is undergoing treatment for his injuries.
A man was taken into custody without further incident by other responding officers.
In an update later on Thursday, police identified the suspect as 39-year-old Alain Bellefeuille from Bourget.
He has been charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, officers said.
According to police, he was remanded into custody.
Carrique described the shooting as an “ambush.”
“When three officers arrive on scene and within minutes are shot, one is killed … for simply arriving on scene, I categorize that as an ambush,” Carrique said.
“Tragic loss of one of our officers who is yet again been murdered simply selflessly serving his community.”
Carrique noted that police are not aware of anyone else being inside of the home at the time of the shooting and no other civilians were injured.
A long gun was found at the scene, Carrique said, but added they are investigating on what exact firearm was used against the officers in the shooting.
Meanwhile, nearby residents reacted to the shooting, telling Motorcycle accident toronto today what they heard and saw.
“I heard three bangs. It sounded like gunshots and I wasn’t sure, but then 20 minutes later, everything lit up with sirens and cops and ambulances,” one man said.
“To be honest, I really want to cry right now,” one woman said. “That is very sad. The people out here really seem super nice. I did not expect this to happen at all, especially down the street from my house.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the news of the shooting “devastating.”
“My thoughts are with his family and friends. Please join me in praying for his fellow officers as we await word on their condition. May God bless our heroes in uniform,” Ford said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted saying, “I’m sending my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of OPP Sergeant Eric Mueller, who was killed in the line of duty, and I’m keeping the two injured officers in my thoughts.”
3 OPP officers shot, 1 dead near Ottawa
This is the latest fatal shooting of a police officer in Ontario. Over the last several months, four other officers have been killed on the job.
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In September 2022, Toronto Police Const. Andrew Hong was shot and killed in an “ambush-style” attack while grabbing coffee at a Tim Horton’s in Mississauga. He was there for a motorcycle operation course sponsored by Peel Regional Police.
A month later in October 2022, South Simcoe Police Const. Devon Northrup and Const. Morgan Russell were both shot and killed after responding to a disturbance at an Innisfil, Ont. home.
In late December, Ontario Provincial Police Const. Greg Pierzchala was responding to a call for a vehicle in the ditch near Hagersville, Ont. when he was shot and killed.
“Canada has lost 10 officers in the line of duty, nine of which were murdered,” Carrique said. “Today, with the murder of Sgt. Eric Mueller, that makes five police officers in the province of Ontario that have been murdered since September.”
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