Friends and family are saying goodbye Monday to a veteran Toronto police officer who was killed in the line of duty.
A funeral for Const. Jeffrey Northrup is being held this afternoon at BMO Field.
Northrup’s casket was draped in the Canadian flag and wheeled into the venue in sombre silence just before 1:30 p.m. His cap and a medal sat on pillows atop of the casket as the funeral began.
Master of ceremonies Supt. Peter Code told the amassed mourners that to fellow officers, the 31-year veteran from 52 Division was “the hardest of all workers” who would take on any task. Northrup was always the first to arrive for a job, Code said.
“And he would do it with a smile,” he said.
Rows of uniformed police officers sat distanced from each other in the stands. Attendees included Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
The premier offered his condolences to Northrup’s family, saying the officer made the “ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
“He did so as a hero. He put his life on the line in order to serve and protect his community, and this is a debt we will never be able to repay,” Ford said.
Investigators say Northrup was killed in a deliberate act last week while responding to a report of a robbery in a parking lot at Toronto City Hall.
They say he died after being struck by a vehicle. A 31-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the case.
Northrup lived in Brampton with his wife and three children, ages 21, 19 and 17, Toronto police said in a news release.
“Jeff was hugely liked by his neighbours, community, colleagues and friends. He has been praised for his kindness, energy and enthusiasm for work and life,” the release said.
“He was dedicated to his wife and family, and his work as a police officer.”
Northrup started in 1989 as a court officer, before graduating from police college in 1999 and heading to 11 Division, and then to 52 Division in 2008.
Ford said Northrup was a devoted father who was deeply entrenched in his kids’ activities and sports, who also volunteered with the Special Olympics.
“Jeff was one of the best amongst us, and a credit to the duty of policing,” Ford said.
Tory similarly offered his condolences, and praised Northrup for his years of hard work.
“This is a family of character, of strength, of deep commitment to public service,” the mayor said.
Police Services Board Chair Jim Hart called Northrup a “giant in stature and heart” who was known for his wisdom, wit, and kind character.
“He tragically gave his life doing what he truly and sincerely loved doing: serving and protecting his community,” Hart said.