‘I’LL BE THERE’: Police officer’s widow offers support to Northrup family

Article content

On the day a police escort accompanied Const. Jeff Northrup’s body to a Thornhill funeral home, the widow of another slain Toronto Police officer offered her support to his grieving family.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“It’s a very tough time. It’s going to be non-stop with planning the funeral, just everything you have to go through,” said Christine Russell, who lost her husband — Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell — a decade ago when he was run down by a mentally ill homeless man in a stolen snowplow.

“My heart goes out to them, all my love and support, and if and when they want to reach out, I’ll be there,” she added Sunday.

Northrup’s casket was covered by a Canadian flag inside a black hearse as it was escorted from the Ontario Coroner’s Office to the Kane-Jerrett Funeral Home in Thornhill around noon on Sunday by a large contingent of police cars with flashing lights.

A 31-year police veteran, the 52 Division officer was killed early Friday morning by a vehicle in City Hall’s underground parking after he and his undercover partner responded to a report of a robbery-turned-stabbing. Umar Zameer, 31, faces a first-degree murder charge.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

Russell, who is raising her and Ryan’s son, Nolan, 12, outside of Toronto, said that Northrup’s family is going “through such a traumatic experience. It’s very overwhelming.

Christine Russell is pictured in this March 27, 2013 photo.
Christine Russell is pictured in this March 27, 2013 photo. Photo by Dave Abel /Toronto Sun

“I’ve already reached out should they ever want to contact me,” she added. “I’m there to help them through whatever they might need in the future.”

As the hearse carrying Northrup’s body left the Ontario coroner’s office, a row of police officers saluted while standing in front of their vehicles.

There was a similar emotional demonstration as the hearse arrived at the Kane-Jerrett Funeral Home where a young man and a woman held up a Canadian flag.

Among the dozen members of the public who showed up were Northrup family friends, Marielle Manning and her husband, David Bell.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

“Jeff and his wife were involved in scouting with us,” said Manning.

“She’s in shock. It was 31 years with no issues, and now he’s gone. He and his wife had a wonderful marriage,” she added. “And to find out how it happened, was even worse. How could somebody run (someone over)? It was devastating.”

Added Bell: “He was a gentle giant. He was all for his whole family, his kids, and his wife. If you needed help, if he couldn’t do it at a certain time, he’d let you know when he could. And his smile was unbelievable. He will be truly missed by a lot, a lot of people.”

There’s been a huge outpouring of support since Northrup was killed.

“I’m not surprised,” said Russell. “I think it’s incredible. And for me, personally, that gave me strength. And I’m sure they’re feeling all that love and support and appreciation.”

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

After 48 hours of silence, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in with his condolences Sunday around 12:30 p.m., tweeting: “Today, I’m joining people in Toronto and across the country as they pay tribute to Const. Jeffrey Northrup, a 31-year veteran of the @TorontoPoliceService, who was killed in the line of duty. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time.”

Russell has also made note of the eerie coincidences between the deaths of her husband and Northrup, who left behind a wife, three children, and his mother.

“I find it terribly coincidental, the circumstances, I don’t know all the details of course,” said Russell.

“But just how a male was involved with a vehicle. It’s just all too familiar to me, and it’s tragic. It’s horrible.”

Russell and Northrup both worked at 52 Division. More than 10,000 people showed up at Sgt. Ryan Russell’s funeral at the Metro Convention Centre.

“(The police) never, ever let me down,” said Russell. “They were always there for me. That show of support. Still to this day, they take care of your family.”

— With files from Ernest Doroszuk

    Advertisement

    Story continues below

    Comments

    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

    Share:

    Share on facebook
    Facebook
    Share on twitter
    Twitter
    Share on pinterest
    Pinterest
    Share on linkedin
    LinkedIn
    On Key

    Related Posts

    On AIR

    Russtrat world