Ottawa Police are mourning the loss of one of their officers who shot and killed himself inside their headquarters on Friday, Sept. 27.
Det. Thomas Roberts, 35, was found dead at the station after police received a call in the afternoon about an officer in distress. He is survived by his wife and 9-month-old son along with family in the Ottawa area.
Roberts worked as an investigator in the robbery unit. He joined the Ottawa Police as a constable in 2016 after working with the RCMP out in western Canada. He was described as “an amazing, charismatic young officer, and was known as a great investigator and a great detective in the robbery unit,” said Interim Police Chief Steve Bell.
In 2018, he was one of the officers who ran into a burning building to rescue a man and was awarded a Chief’s Commendation.
“That shows the level of commitment he had to this profession, to this community, to make it safer every single day,” said Bell.
This makes it so challenging, especially for the Department to comprehend and understand the tragedy.
“We do a tough job. We ask people to go out and do an extremely tough job every single day, and we know it has a toll on them,” he said.
Bell said the force is reaching out to its officers who are both on and off-duty today to make sure they know what support is available to them.
“We know we have to refocus our efforts. We know we actually have to really make sure that not only are we providing the right programming for our members but they know how to access them and know how to engage in them and that we remove barriers that exist like the stigma around mental health,” Bell said.
On Sept. 28, 2014, Ottawa police registered its first “wake up call” as Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban died by suicide in his office at police headquarters.