Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala is being remembered as a kind and gentle man. CHCH News spoke with a former coach and teammate from when Pierzchala wrestled at York University.
Shawn Geris, a detective constable with the Toronto Police Service says he had coached Pierzchala when he attended York University. Pierzchala excelled as a wrestler from 2012 to 2015.
Geris says he saw him as a mentor when he decided to pursue his own career in policing. “He was so kind. You know, he was aware of the needs of other people and he put them before him,” Geris said.
Shawn Geris, a detective constable with the Toronto Police Service says he had coached Pierzchala when he attended York University.
Geris remembered that the young student-athlete began asking him about what it was like to be a police officer, “I didn’t realize it at the time, but somebody had told me that he had been wanting to be a police officer since he was five years old.”
As the years went by and Pierzchala pursued his career in policing, Geris says he had stayed in touch, happy to be a reference for him when he became a special constable at Queen’s Park. He had even hoped to be able to present him with his badge when he graduated from Ontario Police College, “you know, I’m not going to make his graduation, but now I gotta go to his funeral.”
A former teammate of Pierzchala, Urshian Khalid says she was devastated when she heard the news, “I feel heartbreak for his family and I feel heartbreak for all of us who knew him and were lucky enough to know him in his life.” She remembers Pierzchala as a quiet and gentle person off the wrestling mat and a force to be reckoned with on it.
Geris says he constantly kept in touch with his friend and says Pierzchala maintained his passion for wrestling by helping to mentor kids who were getting into the sport, “he was such a pleasant kid to be around, you know its cliche to say, he was a gentle cop, but man, his personality, he was such a great character.”
According to York University’s records Pierzchala was born in Barrie and he was a student at St. Joan of Arc catholic high school in Vaughan.
In a press conference on Tuesday, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique described Pierzchala as an exemplary officer and highly regarded among his platoon mates.