A municipal peace officer killed in a small community southwest of Calgary was a retired RCMP officer who recently made headlines for posing as an Italian mob boss in an undercover sting.
Rod Lazenby was an officer with the Municipal District of Foothills for three years and an RCMP officer for 32 years. He died in hospital on Friday after he responded to a dog-related call at a ranch in Priddis, Alta. Police have released few details except to say no shots were fired. As news of Mr. Lazenby's death spread, he was remembered as an officer with an interesting career.
He was part of an elaborate sting in 2002 in which police in Ottawa posed as Italian mobsters in an attempt to get a murder suspect to confess.
According to news stories earlier this year, Mr. Lazenby described in court proceedings how he portrayed Rod Calabria, a slightly racist senior member of an organized crime group. He faked an Italian accent. He entertained the suspect at places like Hy's Steakhouse in Ottawa as he tried to get the suspect to offer up a murder confession. A jury failed to reach a verdict in the case.
RCMP Sergeant Patricia Neely said on Sunday that Mr. Lazenby's death is "tragic on a number of different levels."
"It just simply highlights how incredibly dangerous and volatile policing can be at every level," she said. "You simply don't know, whether you're a peace officer or a member of the RCMP, which call is going to have potentially tragic consequences."
Mr. Lazenby was one of five peace officers in MD of Foothills. Peace officers do not carry guns, only batons and pepper spray. Mr. Lazenby's duties dealt mainly with investigating complaints regarding animals and enforcing municipal bylaws. Police said he was driven to a police station on Friday by the man who is charged in the case. He was then rushed to Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary.This incident has shocked the municipality and our sincere sympathy and condolences go out to Rod's family and friends," Bill Robinson, the district's municipal treasurer, wrote in an e-mail on Sunday.
Sgt. Neely said the suspect was known to local police, but did not have a criminal record.
A search is under way at the Tangled Spur Ranch, where the incident occurred, Sgt. Neely said.
An autopsy will be done on Monday.
Police have charged Trevor Kloschinsky, 46, with first degree-murder. He will appear in court on Monday.