(Canadian OH&S News) — A rookie police officer was shot and killed during a disturbance call at a residence in the First Nations reserve of Lac-Simon, Que., on the evening of Feb. 13. A second officer was injured and treated at a local hospital, while the shooter has also been reported as dead.
Although the deceased officer, 26-year-old Thierry Leroux, and the injured one were members of an independent police force run by the Conseil de la Nation Anishnabe de Lac-Simon, the tragedy is being investigated by the provincial police authority, La Sûreté du Québec (SQ), based in Montreal.
The Lac-Simon police received a call about an ongoing conflict at about 10:30 p.m. that night, according to SQ sergeant and spokesperson Mélanie Dumaresq.
“Just shortly after the police arrived on the scene, at least one shot was fired in their direction,” said Dumaresq. “They were not able to react.” Leroux was seriously injured in the incident and later died in the hospital, while the other officer’s injuries were not life-threatening. The surviving officer, who has not been publicly identified, has since been treated for shock.
Originally from Lac-Saint-Jean, Leroux had been employed by the Conseil for only about six months, according to information from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). He was a member of CUPE Local 5153.
Dumaresq identified the shooter as Anthony Raymond Papatie, 22, a Lac-Simon resident. “His death was confirmed a few moments later,” she said. “The possibility that the man turned the gun against himself is the principal theory in our investigation.”
Media reports have stated that Papatie posted an apology with the claim, “I shot a police [officer],” in French on his Facebook page before his death.
A few public figures have offered their condolences following the tragedy, including Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Parti Quebecois leader Pierre Karl Peladeau.
“My condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” Couillard posted on his Twitter account in French on the morning of Feb. 14.
“Our thoughts are with Thierry Leroux’s family, relatives and police colleagues. All my condolences,” Peladeau tweeted later that day, also in French.
CUPE national president Mark Hancock and national secretary-treasurer Charles Fleury also offered condolences in a Feb. 18 press release. Hancock called Leroux’s death “a great loss.”
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Thierry Leroux. It’s hard to lose someone so young, at the beginning of a promising career,” said Fleury.
Leroux’s funeral is scheduled for the afternoon of Feb. 26 at la Cathédrale de Chicoutimi in Chicoutimi, Que., according to a Feb. 19 press release from SQ. The funeral will include a formal, ceremonial police tribute.
Lac-Simon is located near the city of Val d’Or, about 500 kilometres northwest of Montreal.