A 26-year-old police officer from the Indian Head RCMP detachment was killed early Saturday morning in Wolseley, Sask. while conducting a traffic stop on what police believe to be a stolen vehicle.
Const. Shelby Patton, who began working at the Indian Head detachment in 2015, was struck and killed after getting out of his vehicle to approach the truck at around 8 a.m. Residents gave Patton emergency medical treatment until paramedics arrived, but their efforts were unsuccessful. He died at the scene.
Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the Saskatchewan RCMP’s commanding officer, described Patton as a hard-working, dedicated officer, who will be missed by his colleagues across the province.
She also expressed condolences to Patton’s wife.
“I am heartbroken for her and her family,” Blackmore told reporters during a press conference at 5 p.m. on Saturday. “Const. Patton’s family is also part of the RCMP family. They have lost a husband, son and brother. We will continue to support them during what is an extremely trying time.”
Police declined to provide several details about the case since it’s still under investigation. However, they did confirm that two suspects who were in the vehicle were arrested just before 10 a.m. northeast of Francis, a community roughly 55 km southwest of Wolseley. Police say the suspects abandoned the vehicle in the area, but were pursued on foot by an RCMP K9 team.
Blackmore thanked local farmers for their role in helping police find the suspects, but declined to name the farmers, or elaborate on their actions.
“The individuals who assisted us today, they’re aware of who they are, and we want them to be aware of how much we appreciated their assistance,” she said.
Police believe the truck was stolen in Manitoba. A male and female suspect are in custody, but police have yet to lay charges.
Blackmore stressed that the investigation was still ongoing, led by an RCMP major crimes unit. Police are not looking for any more suspects.
“There are lots of different facets to the investigation that need to be examined,” she explained. “We want it to be a thorough investigation.”
Police say no firearms were discharged at the scene. Patton was not wearing a body camera, but Blackmore said they have video from the police cruiser dash-cam.
Flags will fly at half-mast at RCMP detachments across Saskatchewan until sunset on the day of Patton’s funeral. Blackmore said the RCMP is a tight-knit family, and every officer was hit hard by news of his death.
“Although we wear a police uniform, we are regular people, going to our jobs every day, just as everyone else does,” she said. “Today, Const. Patton will not come home from doing his job protecting the public.”
Details on where residents can send condolences will be available on the Saskatchewan RCMP website.
Premier Scott Moe offered his condolences to the RCMP and Patton’s family on social media shortly after the press conference.
“It is with tremendous sorrow that Saskatchewan mourns the loss of RCMP Const. Shelby Patton, who was killed in the line of duty this morning in Wolseley, SK.,” Moe wrote. “Our grief is matched only by our tremendous gratitude to Const. Patton for his service, and to every police officer who serves and protects us every day.
Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen also offered his condolences on social media.
“I am shocked and extremely saddened by the tragic on-duty death of a dedicated RCMP police member today,” Bergen wrote. “Our police officers wear our uniform and serve their communities with courage. We mourn this loss together, and our thoughts are with our RCMP partners and their families.”