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Slain Officer's Son Lays Flowers at Crime Scene

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May 16, 2004

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Slain Officer's Son Lays Flowers at Crime Scene

Officer Down: Constable Chris Garrett - [Coburg, ]

Cobourg, Ontario, Canada -- Ben Garrett placed a bouquet of carnations and baby's breath at the crime scene yesterday where his police officer father was slashed to death early Saturday.

The 14-year-old deposited the flowers even as a charge of first-degree murder was announced against another teenager.

The crime of which 18-year-old Troy Davey stands accused involves the death of a police officer after a robbery complaint. The suspect, suffering from a gunshot wound, was arrested at a hospital and police said they seized a bomb late Sunday from the teenager's family home.

Constable Chris Garrett, 39, is being remembered as an extraordinarily vigilant police officer who never let his guard down and who trained officers in using minimal violence when making arrests.

He gained this expertise even though his lakeside community of 17,000, about 100 kilometres east of Toronto, had not logged a homicide since the 1970s.

Today, residents lowered flags to half-mast and tied black ribbons around their car aerials out of respect for Constable Garrett.

Police said that in the middle of the night, Constable Garrett and two other officers responded to a 911 call regarding a robbery. The call was received at about 3 a.m. Saturday and placed from the grounds of a small hospital that closed in October.

As Constable Garrett questioned the complainant in the hospital's parking lot, two officers searched the area for a suspect, police said. Then shots rang out.

Police said the two officers returned to find Constable Garrett fatally wounded. Police would not reveal how he died, but unconfirmed reports say his throat was slashed.

Constable Garrett is thought to have nearly emptied his 9 mm police-issue Glock pistol when shooting at his attacker who fled.

Within the hour, Mr. Davey was arrested at Northumberland Hills Hospital, where, police said, Mr. Davey had sought treatment for a gunshot wound.

Sunday night, police said they executed a search warrant on a house near the closed hospital and found "an explosive device." The area was evacuated as the bomb squad was called in and the bomb defused. Police remain on the scene.

Mr. Davey, who lives at the house, is to make a court appearance today in Cobourg. He is being held at a jail in nearby Lindsay. He was described as an accountant's son who went to a local Catholic school.

Constable Garrett is mourned by his wife, Denise, his stepdaughter, Britany, and his son, Ben.

"Even though you're gone from the world, you'll never be gone from my heart," reads the card Ben left on a tree just inside the yellow crime-scene tape placed by police.

Just across the road, in the hospital parking lot, 13 paper coffee cups were placed about, possibly to mark the locations of the shell casings fired by the dying constable. His death horrified many of his colleagues. "He taught me how to shoot my gun," said Constable Katrina McKenzie, who was guarding the crime scene Sunday.

She said he taught the proper use of force and how to de-escalate violent situations. "He never let his guard down. He is the last person I would ever expect this to happen to."

As well as the parking lot, there is a series of crime scenes that police marked in various Cobourg locations and which extend north from the old hospital.Several residents said that as many as 20 officers searched a playground and wooded area for evidence on Saturday.

Cobourg Police are assisting the homicide investigation being led by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Details of the autopsy and funeral plans are to be released Monday.

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