September 25, 2018

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Last officer shot in line of duty on scene in Neepawa

It’s a day Mark Hume can’t escape.

The Manitoba RCMP officer was under fire in May 2015, while responding to a domestic disturbance in western Manitoba. He was the last police officer to be shot and wounded on the job prior to Wednesday night’s attack on an RCMP officer in Onanole.

Hume was hit by shotgun pellets in the arm and leg after a man began shooting in Kemnay, a village 11 kilometres west of Brandon. Hume made a full recovery, while the suspect was arrested following a short standoff and charged with numerous offences, including attempted murder. Clayton Ewert was convicted last year following a trial and sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.

“It’s not a day I’ll soon forget,” Hume said in his victim-impact statement during Ewert’s sentencing in May. “It could have easily been my last, in my career and in my life.”

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It’s a day Mark Hume can’t escape.

The Manitoba RCMP officer was under fire in May 2015, while responding to a domestic disturbance in western Manitoba. He was the last police officer to be shot and wounded on the job prior to Wednesday night’s attack on an RCMP officer in Onanole.

Hume was hit by shotgun pellets in the arm and leg after a man began shooting in Kemnay, a village 11 kilometres west of Brandon. Hume made a full recovery, while the suspect was arrested following a short standoff and charged with numerous offences, including attempted murder. Clayton Ewert was convicted last year following a trial and sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.

"It’s not a day I’ll soon forget," Hume said in his victim-impact statement during Ewert’s sentencing in May. "It could have easily been my last, in my career and in my life."

In a twist of fate, Hume was one of the arresting officers of a man Thursday in Neepawa, sought in connection to Wednesday’s shooting.

In May, Hume told court he and his family were always comforted by the belief violence against police was less likely to happen in a quiet, rural community.

"Countless people asked me if I was angry with the man who tried to kill me. The answer was and still is no," he said. "I had a sense of relief that this was an act of violence directed not at me personally, but was directed at a police officer, the uniform I wear and what I represent.

"As time went on though, this original sense of relief changed into a feeling of frustration and disappointment. I now view this as not the random and isolated act of one individual, but yet another act of violence against the police and against authority. I think this is worse than a personal attack."

The last time a cop was slain in Manitoba occurred in December 2001, when RCMP Cpl. Dennis Strongquill was ambushed on the highway near Russell during a traffic stop. Three heavily-armed fugitives on the run from Alberta were responsible, and one of them, Danny Sand, was killed during a subsequent standoff outside a Saskatchewan motel.

Robert Sand and his girlfriend, Laurie Bell, were both arrested at the motel. Sand was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder and received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. Bell was found guilty by a jury of manslaughter, and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Court heard the trio, high on drugs and amped by a Prairie crime spree in which they’d stockpiled weapons, had a hatred for police and decided to open fire without warning when Strongquill and his partner pulled them over for a broken headlight on the highway.

Strongquill’s tragic death sent shockwaves through the country and continues to resonate to this day among law enforcement.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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