Constable Dennis Strongquill
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
End of Watch: Friday, December 21, 2001
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: 40120
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Friday, December 21, 2001
Incident Location: Manitoba
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: 1 killed, 2 convicted
Constable Dennis Stronguill was born June 12th, 1949 at Fort Qu'appelle, Saskatchewan with his formative years spent growing up in Barrows, Manitoba. He joined the RCMP as a Special Constable April 14th, 1981, at Dauphin, Manitoba. Following training he was posted to Churchill, Powerview First Nation, 1988 Olympics, then back to Powerview First Nation. He converted to Constable status February 28th, 1989, continuing to serve at Powerview Detachment until he transferred to Amaranth, Manitoba July 11th, 1998, and then to his current posting at the time of his tragic death at Waywayseecappo January 18th, 2001.
The subsequent 14-hour manhunt ended in gunfire as the Mounties' emergency response team shot and killed one of the three suspects at a Wolseley, Sask. hotel at 2:40 p.m. Friday. RCMP spokesperson said the gun battle broke out as the suspects tried to flee the hotel. A suspect was shot as RCMP officers returned fire. He was pronounced dead later at hospital. The two others, a man and a woman surrendered to police and were arrested. All three of the suspects were from Alberta, police said.
RCMP sources said that the three suspects were from the Edmonton area and were the subject of a Canada-wide warrant issued last week in Alberta. Constable Strongquill approached the three suspects in a truck because they matched the description of the armed robbery suspects, the sources said. The suspects shot at the police car, chased it into the town of Russell, and rammed it in front of the detachment office. Constable Strongquill was killed as he was trapped in the vehicle after suspects rammed the police vehicle. He never had a chance to exit the vehicle, and was unable to return fire due to a pistol malfunction. The RCMP officer was the senior constable of a new detachment on the Waywayseecapo First Nations near Russell.
After the shooting in Russell, the suspects fled into Saskatchewan. The town of Russell is 340 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg and about 15 kilometres from the Saskatchewan boundary. RCMP officers were also shot at in Langenburg, Sask. in the early morning hours of Friday morning but nobody was hit in that incident. By Friday afternoon, RCMP from three provinces were scouring Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley. RCMP said they believed the suspects were carrying either rifles or shotguns.
The suspects are believed to have stolen and then ditched as many as five vehicles, including a grey 1996 Dodge truck in Esterhazy, Sask. In that incident, the owner pursued the suspects in a second vehicle, calling RCMP on a cell phone. The owner was shot at but not hurt. At one point, the suspects fled to a farmyard just north of Langenburg, Sask. where they stole a pickup truck from a farmyard. The owner said he was awakened about 2:30 a.m. by a vehicle pulling into his yard. Moments later, he heard a shot and his wife spotted someone driving off in his truck. Police had set up a nearby roadblock where the owner went to report the theft. As he approached the roadblock he was met at gunpoint by officers who ordered him from his vehicle and searched him for weapons before he could explain. After the search, he was told to go home and lock the doors.
The first vehicle the suspects had allegedly stolen had Alberta licence plates, and was found burned and abandoned nearby, he added. Back in his farmyard, The owner said he found items the suspects dropped while switching vehicles. They included a knife, a shotgun shell, binoculars, balaclavas, a tuque and a flashlight. Another pickup truck was stolen near Broadview, Sask., about 150 kilometres east of Regina. A third vehicle was later stolen from the same area.
On June 13, 2003, the killer, a male, was convicted of first-degree murder and received 25 years in prison. A female accomplice received 7 years for manslaughter.
Constable Stronguill is survived by his wife and three children.