The RCMP officer accused of first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Braden Herman called a co-worker to report his own role in the alleged incident, police said Monday.
Cpl. Bernie Herman, 53, a 32-year member of the RCMP, is charged in the incident, alleged to have taken place on May 11.
Bernie and Braden are not related but did know each other.
Bernie phoned his coworker May 11 “and made disturbing comments that he had killed someone,” Prince Albert Police Insp. Craig Mushka said.
Bernie then went to his coworker’s home, located just north of the city. Once he was there, the RCMP was contacted and Bernie was taken into custody.
Bernie told the RCMP investigators where they could find Braden. RCMP members went to the area, described previously by police as a wooded area near Little Red River Park, and found Braden. Police believe he was shot.
Police believe that the location where Braden was found was also where he died. As it’s located within city limits, the Prince Albert Police Service took over the investigation.
Investigators are not able to confirm the weapon used in this incident at this time, but the police have seized Bernie’s service pistol and other use-of-force equipment.
Police have learned that once Bernie finished his shift at 5 p.m. on May 11, he left in full uniform, including his duty belt.
“It is believed that he was in full uniform at the time of the offence,” Mushka said.
After speaking to family, police learned that Bernie and Braden were not related, but “have known each other for several years.”
Braden’s siblings previously told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that Bernie was harassing Braden, alleging that he used his police powers to do so. They also said that Bernie and Braden once lived at the same address, a home on Dent Crescent that police have also searched.
Mushka did not comment on the harassment allegations.
“We do have investigations that involved both of them,” Mushka said. The police are continuing their investigation, hoping to learn the nature of Bernie and Braden’s relationship and a possible motive for the alleged offence.
“There are still statements that need to be collected and gathered,” Mushka said.
“Exhibits need to be processed forensically. The fact that he’s been arrested and charged does not signify the end of the investigation.”
The Prince Albert Police Service is working with the RCMP on the investigation. Bernie spent 32 years with the force, many in the traffic services division of the Prince Albert RCMP.
At the request of the Prince Albert police, two independent investigators have been assigned to oversee the case. Both are veterans of different municipal police forces and have no connections to the RCMP or Prince Albert Police Service.
Last week Police Chief Jon Bergen said that he has the full confidence in his force to run a thorough, complete and independent investigation.
‘We recognize that the RCMP is a national police force and all municipal agencies have a working relationship with the RCMP,” Bergen said.
“Given that the accused was a well-known member of our local community, I know it is important to have public oversight on this file. “If I felt there was any conflict or concern with our ability to investigate this homicide, we would not be investigating it.”