OTTAWA — A high-ranking city police officer took his own life at downtown headquarters Sunday, the same day cops killed in the line of duty were honoured with a memorial service on Parliament Hill.
Sources say Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban, 43, was found in his office and is believed to have shot himself.
“Kal had a way to deal with people,” including the press, Chief Charles Bordeleau told reporters Sunday night.
“He was very direct with people. He was compassionate, he was professional.”
Ghadban, a father of three young children, grew up in the west end and oversaw three units: break and enter, street crime, and human trafficking, “yet can still find humour in life,” he wrote in his Twitter profile.
His office and locker were behind police tape Sunday, where officers sat guard.
Ghadban, a 22-year veteran, recently posted an image on Twitter about suicide and depression, with the words, “How are you? I’m fine” in large letters, on a background of words including “broken,” “sad,” “lonely,” “empty.”
Wow, so powerful. pic.twitter.com/vt70stPbVG— S/Sgt. Kal Ghadban (@KalGhadban) September 13, 2014
As the news spread, tributes for Ghadban poured in on social media.
“I am devastated. He was the best,” Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod tweeted.
“When my community was dealing with fentanyl abuse issues, Kal Ghadban helped me and our community. I will always be grateful to him.”
When my community was dealing with fentanyl abuse issues Kal Ghadban helped me and our community. I will always be grateful to him.— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) September 28, 2014
MacLeod was referring to teens in the south-end community of Manotick stealing to support their addiction, which Ghadban linked to a spike in break and enters in 2011.
He took part in town meetings and educated parents following the overdose death of 17-year-old Tyler Campbell.
“It took someone dying for people to realize maybe we should give this a little more effort than we have,” Ghadban said in November 2012.
More recently, Ghadban was the face of the service when handling the break-in at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s house.
He was “very smart, passionate, strategic in his thinking, and he cared deeply about the community,” Bordeleau said.
The chief said he visited Ghadban’s parents and wife.
Police are “helping them through this difficult time,” he said.
The province’s Special Investigations Unit is handling the investigation.
“These will be difficult days ahead of us,” Bordeleau said.
— With files from Danielle Bell