“Four paramedics inside the hospital dropped their paperwork and rushed the attacker, who raised his bloody knife and motioned to slash his next victim, only to be downed by a female paramedic who grabbed his arm and kicked him at the same time.”
Mountie accused in death of Ottawa officer was ‘hell bent’ to kill police
OTTAWA — The Mountie accused of stabbing Const. Eric Czapnik to death early Tuesday put on two bulletproof vests, a holster and weapons and then went looking for a police officer to kill, according to the working police theory.
The Ottawa Citizen has also learned that the homicide suspect, Kevin Gregson, a once-decorated but more recently suspended RCMP officer, is thought by police to have carjacked a Honda Civic from a Tim Hortons parking lot around 10 p.m. Monday in Ottawa’s west end with the intent of drawing unsuspecting Ottawa police officers from a station located directly across the street.
When police didn’t respond immediately, the accused took off, only to drive the car directly across the street to the police station, again with the hopes of drawing officers into his alleged homicide trap, according to police.
When police still hadn’t approached the stolen car, he allegedly parked it in a section reserved for on-duty officers in the station’s parking lot.
“That’s what I think. He was hell bent on engaging with one of us somewhere,” Ottawa police Chief Vern White said. “It could have been me. I don’t think it mattered to him, honestly. It could have been anyone.”
The accused, police say, then drove around town before heading toward the Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus.
There, he allegedly parked the stolen Honda just metres away from Czapnik, an unsuspecting officer with just three years on the force.
According to police, the disgraced Mountie, who once suffered from a medical condition related to brain cysts, walked up to a police cruiser to confront the officer inside.
Czapnik was alone, working without a partner as most patrol officers do. The 51-year-old had immigrated from Poland and made the force as a mature candidate, fulfilling what he’d called a dream of his.
Czapnik’s mother, reached Wednesday at her home in Warsaw, said she had asked her son whether working alone was frightening.
“And he said ‘Yes, Mum, I am afraid’,” said Josefa Czapnik, 75.
In his final shift, Czapnik was on a routine call, filling out paperwork when his assailant walked up.
Known as an officer who took pride in his work, Czapnik stepped outside his cruiser. He was slashed in the throat in a surprise attack, losing blood quickly on frozen pavement, metres from the emergency room.
Four paramedics inside the hospital dropped their paperwork and rushed the attacker, who raised his bloody knife and motioned to slash his next victim, only to be downed by a female paramedic who grabbed his arm and kicked him at the same time.
They then grabbed the dying officer’s handcuffs, restrained the suspect and called for police help.
White has publicly praised the paramedics for apprehending the alleged killer. Those paramedics were still too shaken to speak Wednesday, according to J.P. Trottier, spokesman for the paramedic service.
“They’re quite upset,” he said, explaining that police officers and paramedics often work very closely together. “You just can’t stand there and watch one of your colleagues getting murdered.”
Gregson is now in jail and on a 24-hour suicide watch as he awaits trial on charges of first-degree murder.
It’s not the first time the Mountie has had trouble with the law. Two years ago he pleaded guilty for threatening to kill a Mormon bishop with a knife. At the time, he declared he was a “cop,” and not like the rest, because he was trained in the art of killing.
But Gregson’s troubles go back further.
A confidential memorandum sent to Gregson from his superior officer in January 2005, also sheds light on his struggles.
“You refuse to be open to any type of assistance,” said the memorandum, written by RCMP Sgt. Rhonda Harlos, then the head of the Humboldt detachment where Gregson was stationed at the time.
The document is now part of a Saskatchewan Provincial Court file.
“You have indicated to me that seeing a psychologist is a waste of time as you can manipulate them,” Harlos continued.
“You are constantly twisting what is being told to you and are very paranoid of everyone and everything. You continue to tape-record conversations that you have in the office as you are convinced that every one is out to get you.
“Kevin, this is not natural, normal or healthy.”
With files from Chris Cobb and Tom Spears