The suspect in the murder of a 28-year-old OPP officer had a string of convictions against him for violent offenses and was under a lifetime firearms ban. At the time of Tuesday’s ambush-style shooting of Const. Greg Pierzchala, Randal McKenzie was wanted for bail violations and was under a firearms ban. He and a female companion Brandi Crystal Lyn Stewart-Sperry were arrested hiding in a wooded area hours after the shooting in the Hagersville area. An earlier photo of a young woman was incorrectly identified as Stewart-Perry. McKenzie was being sought by police for skipping out of a September court date. The Hamilton Spectator obtained court documents showing McKenize had 12 charges laid against him in December 2021 for a domestic dispute in which three people were assaulted inclosing a police officer. He spent six months in pre-trial custody before he was granted bail in June.
A 2021 Parole Board document showed McKenzie at that time serving an almost three-year sentence for robbery, assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon and other charges. The lifetime weapons ban was issued in 2018.
At a news conference OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said he was “outraged” that McKenzie was out on bail at the time of the shooting.
“This should have never happened. Something needs to change,” he said. “Our police officers, your police officers, my police officers, the public, deserve to be safeguarded against violent offenders who are charged with firearms related offences.”
Both McKenzie and Stewart-Sperry have been changed with first-degree murder. They will get a court appearance January 17th.