TORONTO — A 31-year-old man was charged with first-degree murder Friday in the death of a veteran police officer who was struck by a vehicle earlier that day, an incident investigators deemed an "intentional and deliberate act."
Const. Jeffrey Northrup was in the parking garage at Toronto City Hall, responding to reports of a robbery in progress early Friday morning when he was killed in an incident that also left another officer injured, said interim police Chief James Ramer, calling it a "senseless and devastating tragedy."
Ramer said the 31-year veteran of the service was intentionally struck by a vehicle after responding to a 911 call for a robbery in progress. A female plainclothes officer was injured and sent to hospital but has since been released, he said.
Police said early Friday that an arrest had been made in the case, and later announced the charge against the suspect, identified as Umar Zameer. They said a publication ban prevents them from releasing further details.
Municipal and provincial offered condolences to Northrup's grieving family and friends, and praised him for serving his community over several decades.
Ramer said the constable should be remembered as an "outstanding police officer and member of the community."
"He was just full of personality... loved by everyone, and just coming into work every day was his pride and joy," the interim chief said.
"He loved his job and went in to do that job every day and despite the dangers that we occasionally face he continued to do that job to the best of his ability," said Ramer.
Northrup had been training new officers until April, when he requested to return to the major crimes unit, Ramer said,
"Despite 31 years on the job he was eager to do that," said Ramer. "It speaks to the kind of officer he was and the dedication that he had that it was at this stage of his career that he was going into the major crimes unit."
Toronto Mayor John Tory said Northrup previously worked as a court officer but "achieved his ambition" of joining the police ranks and then "served his city... with distinction."
"So it is with immense gratitude and profound sadness that we mark this tragic loss," the mayor said.
Tory noted the hardest part of his job is when tragedy strikes the city.
"Nothing can prepare any of us, the people in the city of Toronto, the rest of the members of the police service, for news like this," he said. "I begin, on behalf of the three million people who our police officers serve, by extending to the family of officer Northrup our deepest condolences.
"That's to his wife, and to his children, and to his mother, and all the member of his family and his friends."
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also offered his sympathies to those close to Northrup.
"I’m terribly saddened to hear the tragic news of Const. Jeff Northrup who was killed in the line of duty," tweeted Ford. "Jeff served his community for 31 years. My deepest condolences to his wife, three kids and the entire Toronto Police Service. We are with you mourning this devastating loss."
The Toronto Police Association said it's attending to Northrup's wife and children and asks that the public respects their privacy.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2021.
_ With files from Paola Loriggio.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version misspelled the last name of Const. Jeffrey Northrup.