Saanich police will gather Wednesday to remember the 59th anniversary of the death of Const. Robert “Barrie” Kirby. He remains the only Saanich police officer who has died in the line of the duty since the inception of the department in 1906. (Photo courtesy of Saanich Police)

Saanich police prepare to salute local officer killed in the line of duty

Const. Robert Kirby died on April 24, 1960

Saanich Police Wednesday will remember its only officer who died in the line of duty.

According to the Saanich Police website, Const. Robert “Barrie” Kirby died on April 24, 1960, when 44-year-old Raymond Harold ambushed and shot Kirby, who was 31 years old at the time of his death. Harold had earlier that day escaped from the Colquitz Provincial Mental Home, a location in the Wilkinson Road area that now includes Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre.

RELATED: Saanich Police salute local officer killed in the line of duty

The escapee quickly broke into a nearby shed, where he stole two .22-calibre rifles, which he then fired upon some of the unarmed hospital staff.

When police responded, Kirby left his front desk post to immediately join other Saanich Police officers responding to the area.

Harold shot Kirby soon after he and Cpl. Coleman had formed a search team following their arrival. Jumping out of some bushes some five metres away, Harold shot Kirby in the chest. The rifle round split the top button of Kirby’s tunic in two, then pierced his heart, killing him instantly. Cpl. Coleman immediately returned fire, but the shooter fled into a wooded area just off Viaduct Avenue.

About 40 minutes later, Harold remained at large and he eventually opened fire again, shooting an unarmed psychiatric nurse in the shoulder. The nurse fortunately survived her injuries. Moments later, Const. Mycock shot and immobilized Harold, whom police quickly arrested. But he never stood trial because of his mental state. Authorities later recommitted him to a different institution.

Kirby had served with Saanich Police for about two years before his death. He had also served for seven years with the St. Boniface and Winnipeg Police departments, and with the Royal Canadian Navy.

Wednesday’s ceremony will take place at the Royal Oak Burial Park on Falaise Drive from 11 to 11:15 a.m.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

View Royal kids cruise their complex to raise food, toys for Goldstream Food Bank

Four kids gather more than 60 bags of non-perishable food items and toys

North Saanich Fire Department wins national Movember challenge

Team raises more than urban Edmonton, Toronto firefighters

Crash backs up northbound lanes of Pat Bay Highway

Drive BC warns of heavy congestion along busy route

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read