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

Russell Books marks opening of new location by setting Guinness World Record

Store stacks world record books more than six metres high

Putting some real teeth into the kindness of strangers

Otter Point Dental donation fills cavity left by toothless government policy

Editorial: Full ban on backyard burning a must

Bad air quality season is here thanks to lack of government backbone

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘optimistic’ about Bamfield road upgrades

Premier John Horgan travelled Bamfield Main to Anacla

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

VIDEO: Disney Plus adds disclaimer about racist stereotypes

Disney’s disclaimer is a good way to begin discussion about the larger issue of racism

Area director concerned about status of barge ahead of expected windy conditions

Uncertainty of Nana Provider’s hull condition adding to unease

Those involved in Saanich School District strike question calls for mediation

Sidney council has called on the province to appoint a mediator

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

B.C. man facing 18 charges after hidden camera found in Kelowna winery washroom

The camera was found at Summerhill Winery on Aug. 23

No new rules needed to ensure timely youth justice, Supreme Court says

Charter of Rights and Freedoms says someone charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

Most Read