Cst. Thomas Brian KING – April 25, 1978

Reg. # 31915, Cst. Thomas Brian KING

April 25, 1978, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan          Age: 40 years

Cst. KING was born at Winnipegosis, Manitoba on March 29, 1938 to Aubrey and Margaret.  He had six siblings; brothers, William John, James Aubrey and sisters, Margaret Ann Colville, Lesley Eleanor, Edna Elizabeth and Willa Eleanor.  He attended Fork River High School, Fork River, Manitoba and Dauphin Collegiate, Dauphin, Manitoba.  He participated in Boy Scouts and Air Cadets.  Cst. KING married Marie Carrie Sydor on November 16, 1963 in the Holy Eucharist UkrainianCatholic Church at Oakburn, Manitoba.  They had children, Ashley Thomas born on February 15, 1966, Lori June born on September 29, 1967 and Lesley Dawn born on March 7, 1969 He worked as a telegrapher with the Canadian National Railways from 1957 to when he joined the Force as a Civilian Member Radio Operator on January 4, 1971 and posted to the Saskatoon Telecommunications Center and assigned Regimental No. C/829.

Cst. King converted to Special Constable (Regimental No. S/1032) status on January 3, 1974.  Upon completion of training at Depot (‘I’ Troop) he was posted to the Saskatoon Airport Detachment.  When the Force began accepting married members, on October 3, 1974, Cst. KING (Regimental No. 31915) was promoted to his present rank and upon completion of further training (Troop 20), posted to Saskatoon Detachment.

On the night of April 25, 1978, Cst. KING stopped a car for a minor traffic violation at 12:35 AM on Highway #11, one quarter mile north of Saskatoon city limits.  There were two youths in the car.  One was 18 year old Darrell Crook; the other, 19 year old Gregory Michael Fisher.  KING didn’t realize that these two young men were “cop haters” who had set out that evening to “get themselves a policeman.”  They intentionally knocked out the tail lights of Fisher’s 1964 Rambler sedan and went out for a drive in the hope that they would be stopped by the law.  At 109:30 PM, near Lloydminster, the two were pulled over by two RCMP, but they decided not to try anything.  Two hours later, KING came along all alone.  When he pulled them over on Highway #11 near 51st Street, they decided to make their move.  As Cst. KING checked Fisher’s licence, the two of them jumped him and a wild struggle took place on the shoulder of the highway.  Eventually KING was overpowered and manacled with his own handcuffs.  Crook, who had been drinking, even went so far as to fire a shot in the air with KING’s service revolver to prove to his hostage how violently serious were his intentions.  Then KING was put into he Rambler and taken to a house in the city where friends of Crook’s and Fisher’s were congregated.  When they saw KING handcuffed in the car, the friends wanted to no part of what was going on and told Crook and Fisher to get him away from the house.  From there, Crook and Fisher drove down to the banks of the Saskatchewan River and pulled KING out of the car near the power station.  Darrell Crook hauled the defenseless Cst. KING down the banks; Fisher claims he waited at the car.  Down at the river’s edge, there is some speculation that Cst. KING tried to get away and Crook hit him a severe blow to the back of the head with the policeman’s revolver.  Then Crook executed KING with a shot behind the left ear and another shot above the left eye.  Crook then called to his accomplice to come down and the two of them dragged Cst. KING’s dead body further down the bank and threw him into the river.

Meanwhile, KING’s police cruiser was found abandoned on Highway #11 near the airport and a dragnet was set up to find the missing policeman.  A little that morning, the Saskatoon City Police pulled over a beat-up looking 1964 Rambler sedan with two male occupants.  Darrell Crook bolted from the passenger side and escaped on foot.  The police arrested Gregory Fisher.  Under questioning, Fisher admitted participating in the crime and incriminated Crook as the murderer.  Then the police went looking for Darrell Crook in force.  Road-blocks were set up at strategic points around the city.  It didn’t take long for the RCMP to find their quarry.  They pulled over a car heading out of the city arrested the driver, 20 year old Frank Crook and a passenger whom the police later identified as his younger brother, Darrell.

On October 11, 1978, Darrell Crook and Gregory Fisher went on trial in Saskatoon for the first degree murder of a policeman.  They were both found guilty and were sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years.

Brian KING’s death was a great loss to everyone who knew him.  He is remembered as a true gentleman.  Someone who was honest and ethical and always willing to go out of his way to help others.  His personal qualities were so outstanding that a school in Warman, Saskatchewan was renamed in his memory.  He was survived by his widow and their three children.  A prayer service was held at Saskatoon Funeral Home and Funeral Service held at St.’s Peter and Paul Catholic Church on April 28, 1978 in Saskatoon.  He was buried with full military honours and rests at the RCMP Cemetery in Regina.  He lies there a victim of a man who was determined to kill him.  A man he met but once – the night he died.

Eleven years after his death, his daughter, Lori (Reg. # 41224), joined the Force and is now an RCMP officer in Alberta.

(Personnel File reviewed – photo available)