OPP officer dead, two others injured in ‘ambush’ shooting east of Ottawa: police
Posted May 11, 2023 7:32 am.
Last Updated May 11, 2023 8:12 pm.
An Ontario Provincial Officer has died and two other veteran officers are injured, one critically, after a shooting east of Ottawa, in what police describe as an “ambush.”
Sgt. Eric Mueller, 42, and two other officers responded to a disturbance call at a home on Laval Street in the village of Bourget, around 50 kilometres east of downtown Ottawa, shortly after 2 a.m. on Thursday after a citizen reported hearing a gunshot.
Police said the three officers arrived at the scene within minutes of each other and were shot at by someone inside the home.
The officers were taken to hospital in Ottawa, but one of the officers was later pronounced dead.
“Based on the information that I have, when three officers arrive on scene and within minutes are shot, one is killed, another is very seriously and critically injured, and another injured to the point of requiring medical attention for simply arriving on scene, I categorize that as an ambush,” OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in an update on Thursday afternoon.
Carrique said a 49-year-old officer with 19 years of service, remains in hospital in critical but stable condition. A 35-year-old officer with 10 years of experience has been treated and is recovering at home.
Police said a 39-year-old man, who lived at the home, was arrested without further incident by a second group of responding officers.
Court documents show that Alain Bellefeuille has been charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Carrique said a long gun was found at the scene, but police are still investigating what firearm was involved in the shooting.
He also said no one else appeared to be inside the home during the shooting. No other injuries were reported.
— Thomas Carrique (@OPPCommissioner) May 11, 2023
Carrique said Sgt. Mueller, who started at the OPP 21 years ago, was an exemplary officer and a family man. He was promoted to sergeant in 2018.
“He’s described by colleagues as a coach and mentor — someone everyone looked up to, the glue that held his shift together, the best leader anyone had the privilege of working for.”
Carrique said Sgt. Mueller was seriously injured in an incident in 2008 but didn’t provide further details.
Dan Brown, who lives about six kilometres from the scene, said he was awake around 2 a.m. when he heard the sound of police sirens and a series of low pops. A member at the nearby firing range, Brown said he immediately recognized the sound as gun fire.
“I knew right away what was going on,” he said. “It was like somebody’s getting shot or was shooting.”
Ashley Butler said she woke up to the sound of screeching car tires followed by gun shots. Butler, who lives around 100 metres down the road, said she ran to her daughter’s room to make sure she was safe.
“I was terrified,” she said. “But the first thing that goes through a parent’s head is, you know, is my kid OK.”
It was only later on Thursday morning that she learned what had happened.
“It rocked me a little bit,” she said. “It kind of shook me to know that happened so close to home.”
Jaclyn Young also said the shooting had also placed her family on edge.
“It’s nerve-racking,” she said. “An officer lost his life in our town due to protecting our community.”
Premier Ford, Trudeau react to OPP officer’s death
In a statement, Premier Doug Ford said his thoughts are with the family of Mueller, who he said was “senselessly killed in the line of duty.”
“Please join me in praying for his fellow officers … May God bless our heroes in uniform,” Ford said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed those sentiments and expressed his “deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues” of Sgt. Mueller, adding that his thoughts are also with the two injured officers.
OPP union leaders from across the province were gathered in Collingwood, Ont., for an unrelated meeting when they got word of the shooting, said OPP Association spokesman Scott Mills.
“This is devastating,” Mills told the Canadian Press. “There’s a lot of heavy hearts here. When is this going to stop?”
It’s the latest fatal shooting to shake a police force in Ontario since last year.
In September of 2022, Toronto police Const. Andrew Hong was shot in what police described as an ambush at a Tim Hortons in Mississauga, Ont.
Then in October, Const. Devon Northrup and Const. Morgan Russell of the South Simcoe Police Service were killed while responding to a disturbance call at a home in Innisfil, Ont.
OPP Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was shot and killed after stopping to check on a vehicle that was stuck in a ditch in Hagersville, Ont., in December 2022.
With files from Kaitlin Lee and John Marchesan of CityNews; and The Canadian Press