Constable Dennis M. N. Shwaykowski
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
End of Watch: Wednesday, April 6, 1977
Tour of Duty: 10 years
Badge Number: 25308
Cause of Death: Assault
Date of Incident: Wednesday, April 6, 1977
Incident Location: Alberta
Weapon Used: Automobile
Suspect Info: criminal negligence causing death.
Constable Dennis Shwaykowski was killed after being thrown from a moving vehicle while trying to apprehend a suspect armed with a rifle.
At 9:50 pm. On Wednesday, April 6, 1977, the RCMP detachment in Red Deer, Alberta received a call that a man with a rifle was about to enter Trapper Dave's dining lounge in Red Deer's Parkland Mall. The manager of Trapper Dave's reported, "There's a guy out here who's looney with a shotgun." Cst. Shwaykowski and Cst. Dave Guy, who were both in plain clothes, responded to the call.
When the police got to Trapper Dave's, they were told that the man had left the lounge and was driving around the Mall in his half-ton pick-up truck. The two officers went outside and, when they spotted the truck in the service area, Cst. Shwaykowski waved to the driver to stop. As the constable approached the vehicle with a flashlight, he realized that he knew the driver - a 28 year old male. Cst. Shwaykowski told him to get out of the truck, but the driver refused to comply and an argument followed. As the suspect began to pull away, Shwaykowski jumped up on the running board and grabbed the driver by the shirt. As the truck picked up speed, the policeman struck the driver over the eye with his flashlight. This was followed by more yelling and another blow from the police officer. By now the suspect had increased his speed dramatically and was heading for a landscaped area of trees and boulders in the centre of the Mall parking lot. His speed reached 50 miles per hour. Just as the suspect reached the landscaped area, Cst. Shwaykowski was thrown off the truck. The constable flew through the air and struck his head against one of the boulders. Cst. Guy, who had chased after the suspect truck on foot, called for an ambulance, but Cst. Shwaykowski had died instantaneously from the impact.
Road blocks were immediately set up around Red Deer to apprehend the suspect. They didn't prove to be necessary because the suspect had gone into the Summit Esso station a half mile north of the Mall and told someone to call the police. Then he went out and waited in his truck. When the police arrived, they found him sitting there, upset and crying. They also found a 12 gauge shot gun and a .308 caliber rifle on the front seat beside him. Both guns had live rounds in the breach.
As the events of the evening were unraveled, it turned out that the suspect 's girlfriend, had left him three months previously and the suspect had recently threatened to kill her. That night, when the suspect spotted her inside Trapper Dave's with three men, he went home and got his guns. When he came back brandishing a rifle outside the lounge, the manager called the RCMP.
The suspect was originally charged with first degree murder, but that charge was stayed and he pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death. He was found guilty by a jury and received a sentence of three years in the penitentiary.
Cst. Dennis Shwaykowski's funeral was attended by a huge throng of policemen and civilian mourners at Red Deer's Sacred Heart Church. Among them were his three children and his loving wife, Linda. He lies buried at Birchwwod Cemetery in Swan River, Manitoba, some 95 miles north of Dauphin, Manitoba where he had joined the RCMP just ten years before.