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Ottawa police, family and friends bid farewell to Sgt. Robin Easey

Ottawa police officers, friends and family have bid farewell to former Ottawa Police Sgt. Robin Easey.

Easey passed away earlier this month at the age of 70. A celebration of his life was held at the Hellenic Community Centre in Ottawa on Saturday.

Easey and his partner Ralph Erfle were constables with the Nepean police force when they were both shot while responding to a robbery at the Bayshore Shopping Centre in 1984. Both men survived, but Easey was left blind and with serious mobility and health issues.

“I knew Robin a little while before the actual shooting. We were on the same platoon,” said Erfle, now a retired superintendent of the Ottawa Police Service. “He was always extremely helpful to all of his colleagues, which is one of the reasons he got involved in the shooting that day, volunteering to take the call because he was in close proximity to it. I volunteered to back him up.”

Erfle said the call on Labour Day weekend was initially a suspicious person call.

“That’s a fairly routine call. Little did we know we were driving into an ambush where three males were putting on disguises and preparing to rob an armoured car of $1 million,” he said.

Ottawa Police Supt. Ralph Erfle (ret’d) speaks to CTV News Ottawa about the legacy of Sgt. Robin Easey. Erfle and Easey were Nepean constables when they were both shot in 1984 while responding to a robbery at the Bayshore Shopping Centre. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

Easey never had the opportunity to get his gun out of his holster before he was shot. Erfle said he faced nearly two dozen gunshots in less than 30 seconds and was struck three times.

Since then, Easey went on to become a champion for rehabilitation and support for people with traumatic brain injuries and police officers who have been involved in shootings. The support group Robin’s Blue Circle, founded in 1988, was named after him, as was the Ottawa Hospital’s Robin Easey Centre.

“The community support has been phenomenal from the day of the shooting until recently,” said Erfle. “This whole incident has brought us close together and there have been many events since that. It’s very touching that we’re here now celebrating Robin’s life and his accomplishments.”

Easey and Erfle also have streets named after them, which Erfle said would ensure Easey’s legacy lives on for decades. Robin Easey Avenue intersects with Ralph Erfle Way in Barrhaven.

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Shaun Vardon.

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