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'Absolute tragedy': Slain OPP officer had just passed probation

'Greg was always smiling, very disciplined and focused on what he wanted to do for work,' says owner of academy where officer trained
Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was shot and killed in the line of duty on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022.

An OPP officer killed Tuesday in the line of duty was from Barrie and is being remembered as a "great guy" who was focused on his work.

Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala, a member of the Haldimand County Detachment, responded to a vehicle in the ditch at the intersection of Indian Line and Concession 14, west of Hagersville, at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

An OPP statement said that when he arrived, he was shot.

Pierzchala was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Pierzchala, 28, had been an OPP officer for just over a year. 

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in a statement that Pierzchala had been notified hours before his death that he had passed his probation.

The OPP have said a 25-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were arrested, and no other suspects are at large.

According to the York University website, Pierzchala was a wrestler at the university in 2012/2013 and had attended St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie.

Spencer Lalonde, the owner and head trainer at Submission Arts Academy on Commerce Park Drive in Barrie, said Pierzchala trained at the facility for more than two years.

“Greg was always smiling, very disciplined and focused on what he wanted to do for work,” said Lalonde. “It's an absolute tragedy that this happened; he was such a great guy.”

Lalonde said the death of first responders always hits home for him as he works with a many first responders at his facility.

“It is one of the legacies of the academy where I have the opportunity to help so many first responders when they get a call and to help put them in a position to protect themselves and the people they are responding to,” said Lalonde. “In this case, unfortunately, Greg met with someone where tragic things happened.”

A fundraiser is being planned by the gym and Lalonde said he hopes to have more details soon.

The death of Pierzchala was a sad reminder of another incident from our region just over two months ago.

On Oct. 11, South Simcoe County police officers Const. Devon Northrup and Const. Morgan Russell were shot and killed while responding to a disturbance at a home in the area of 25th Sideroad and 9th Line in the town of Innisfil. 

The two officers were shot inside the home, according to police, and the suspect was later pronounced deceased following an "interaction" with police.

Their funeral was attended by thousands of officers from around North America.

There is no word yet on funeral arrangements for Pierzchala.