Officer killed in gunfight

A police officer is being remembered as a "hero" after he died Monday in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect who had allegedly stolen a vehicle.

Chief Bob Rich of the Abbotsford Police Department said officers were called about a possible stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a shopping complex about 11:30 a.m.

The caller blocked the suspect's vehicle in while waiting for police to arrive, Rich said.

"Unfortunately, a male suspect emerged from that vehicle and began shooting at the caller and others with a shotgun," Rich said at a news conference.

There were several 911 calls reporting the shooting and police officers arrived in the area and attempted to engage and arrest the suspect.

"There was an exchange of gunfire," Rich said, and one officer was taken to hospital with "very serious injuries."

"The horrible part of this story, our injured APD officer was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after he arrived."

The suspect, a man in his 60s from Alberta, fled in the vehicle and police officers pursued him to the intersection of Mt. Lehman Road and Fraser Highway, Rich said. The man was apprehended and taken to hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

"Our officers' actions today, all of them, were absolutely heroic," he said. "There were officers heroically trying to save the life of our member. There were officers immediately taking control of the scene," he said.

George MacDonald, a manager at MSA Ford in Abbotsford, said a man came in to test drive a Mustang around 9 a.m. on Saturday and drove off without leaving his driver's licence.

Shortly before noon on Monday, a dealership employee noticed the vehicle parked about 400 metres away at a restaurant, MacDonald said.

"One of my guys blocked the car in until the Abbotsford police came and before the police came the guy came back with a rifle and decided he wanted the car back," McDonald said. "The truck took two or three bullet holes."

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