An RCMP officer is dead and two people are in custody after a collision in southern Saskatchewan Saturday, RCMP say.
Const. Shelby Patton, 26, of the Indian Head detachment died while on duty.
Officials said he was killed at 8 a.m. CST while following two suspects who were driving a stolen truck from Manitoba.
Patton initiated a traffic stop in the town of Wolseley, located 95 kilometres east of Regina, and approached the truck.
While outside of his vehicle, he was hit by the truck, RCMP said.
Two suspects who were in the truck, a man and woman, fled the scene. They were arrested in a farmer’s field in the town of Francis just before 10 a.m. with the help of the canine unit.
Both suspects were detained, but as of Saturday evening had not been charged.
A passerby tried to resuscitate Patton, but he died on scene. He leaves behind a widow.
“Although we wear a police uniform, we are regular people going to our job every day, just as everyone else does,” said Rhonda Blackmore, assistant commissioner for the Saskatchewan RCMP.
“Today, Constable Patton will not be coming home from doing his job of protecting the public.”
Patton had been a constable with the RCMP for over six years. He worked at the Indian Head detachment since 2015. Before that he was on assignment at Parliament during February and March of 2015.
Patton’s family is also a part of the RCMP, said Blackmore, making his loss even more devastating.
“There’s almost a family-like atmosphere amongst our employees, both our public servants and our sworn regular members. It’s very traumatic for them,” Blackmore said.
Employees will be offered any support services to help them cope in the coming days.
Patton’s death shocks the province
Wolseley Mayor Gerald Hill said the town is in “utter shock and disbelief.”
“This kind of thing does not happen here,” Hill said.
The increased police presence in the area Saturday was unusual for the town of Wolseley, said Coun. Tim Taylor, which speaks for the seriousness of the situation.
“Normally we might see one police vehicle in the community coming and going or spending some time here,” he said.
“This is way out of the ordinary.”
While the mayor did not know any details or the name of the officer, Hill said the community has a good relationship with RCMP officers in the area.
“It’s like losing your next-door neighbours, losing a buddy,” Hill said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to [the family].”
Blackmore said Const. Patton was well-liked among the community and his co-workers.
“Nothing but the highest praise of this member. Hardworking, dedicated. The detachment commander [in Indian Head] actually mentioned to me, ‘To create the ideal RCMP member, you would clone Shelby Patton,'” Blackmore said.
“He was just an outstanding individual dedicated to the public of Saskatchewan and he was very committed to making sure that he did his duties to the utmost of his ability.”
Funeral services for Const. Patton will be announced in the days ahead.
The last time a Saskatchewan RCMP officer died on duty was July 20, 2012. Const. Derek Pineo died after he struck a moose near Wilkie, Sask.