Firearms kill most police officers who die on duty

The death of a Toronto police officer today, Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, who was apparently run down by a crazed driver in a stolen snowplow, is a shocking, but relatively rare event. Statistics Canada figures (docs after the jump) on the deaths of police officers in the line of duty show that only a few are killed on the job, 125 in a 40-year span, and roughly nine out of every 10 police officers killed while on duty died at the hands of an assailant with a gun. Taxi driving is the most dangerous occupation in Canada, in terms of the risk of being murdered on the job.

In the span from 1961 to 2005, nine police officers died while pursuing a vehicle or approaching a stolen car. Here’s the Statistics Canada data that catalogues the deaths in the 40-year period:

Police officer murders

Here’s another look (google spreadsheet) at the same data, a breakdown of murders of police officers by region, also from StatsCan.