Saanich Police paid tribute to one of their own who was killed on the line of duty 61 years ago.
Const. Robert Norman Barry Kirby was shot and killed by a 44-year-old escapee from Colquitz Provincial Mental Hospital on April 24, 1960.
On Saturday, a handful of officers gathered at the Royal Oak Burial Park to remember and honour their fallen colleague.
Const. Markus Anastasiades of the Saanich Police Department said Kirby made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the community and holding this ceremony each year is one way to remember him.
“Even after all of these years, we are still in touch with his family. The Kirby Room at our department is also named in his honour, and was done so 21 years ago,” said Anastasiades.
A nine-year police veteran at the time, Kirby responded to the Wilkinson Road area with another colleague after the escapee broke into a nearby resident’s shed, stole two .22 calibre rifles and then started shooting at some unarmed hospital staff members.
Kirby, according to Saanich PD, was ambushed by the escape who was hiding in some bushes about 15 feet away.
“The rifle round split the top button of Const. Kirby’s tunic in two and then pierced his heart, killing him instantly,” said Anastasiades.
About 40 minutes later, the escapee was still at large when he shot an unarmed psychiatric nurse, who survived her injuries.
Eventually, an officer managed to shoot and arrest the escapee, who would never stand trial due to his mental state, according to the Anastasiades.
The escapee was later recommitted to a different institution.