(NEW YORK) -- A Canadian police officer has been killed in the line of duty after being run over during a traffic stop of a couple driving a stolen truck.
The incident occurred at approximately 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, when 26-year-old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Shelby Patton began following two suspects who were driving a stolen truck from Manitoba, according to a statement from the Saskatchewan RCMP commanding officer, Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore.
Constable Patton subsequently initiated a traffic stop of the truck in the town of Wolseley but, during the course of the stop, the officer was struck and killed by the vehicle he pulled over while he was standing outside of his car. Patton died on the scene.
“This morning I, along with the Indian Head Detachment Commander and Saskatchewan RCMP Chaplain, had to tell Constable Patton's wife the difficult news that he is not coming home,” said Blackmore. “I am heartbroken for her and her family. [His family] have lost a husband, son and brother. We will continue to support them during what is an extremely tragic time. No one should have to wake up and learn their family member died as a result of doing their job and this is what happened today to Constable Patton's loved ones.”
The suspects, an adult male and an adult female, immediately fled the scene of the incident after striking Patton with the stolen truck but were located two hours later at approximately 10 a.m. in a rural northeast area of Francis, Saskatchewan, with the assistance of RCMP Police Dog Services.
“I would like to express sincere appreciation to a member of the public who provided medical assistance to Constable Patton until emergency responders could arrive,” said Blackmore. “Also, to farmers in the area who provided assistance to our responding police officers who arrested the suspects.”
Patton had worked at the Indian Head Detachment since 2015, according to the Saskatchewan RCMP, the entirety of his six years and four months with the police force.
The RCMP Major Crime Unit North has taken the lead on this investigation with the assistance of multiple RCMP Detachments, Collision Reconstruction and Forensic Identification Services, among other supporting units and partner agencies, according to Blackmore. The investigation is ongoing.
To honor Patton, flags at every RCMP detachment across the province of Saskatchewan will remain at half-mast until sunset on the day of the funeral. No details about his funeral arrangements have been made yet.
Said Blackmore: “A tragedy such as this shakes our entire RCMP family to its core, coast to coast. Although we wear a police uniform, we are regular people, going to our job each day, just as everyone else does. Today, Constable Patton will not come home from doing his job protecting the public.”