|Richard Esber Kachkar, 44, formerly of St. Catharines, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell, who was killed when hit by a stolen snowplow. (Facebook photo)
TORONTO — Accused cop killer Richard Kachkar, 46, was ordered Thursday to undergo a psychiatric assessment to determine whether he was sane when he allegedly struck and killed a police officer with a snowplow-equipped pickup truck.
Judge Ian MacDonnell approved the joint request from Kachkar's lawyer Bob Richardson and Crown attorney Christine McGoey to send Kachkar to Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health in Whitby, Ont., for the 30-day assessment, which may be extended.
Kachkar, who has gained a considerable amount of weight during his 19 months in custody, is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 12, 2011, death of Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, an 11-year veteran who is survived by his wife and young son.
Kachkar was remanded until Sept. 14 for another court appearance.
Kachkar checked into the Good Shepherd shelter at around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2011, after arriving in Toronto on a bus from St. Catharines, Ont.
Police allege he stole a pickup truck equipped with a snowplow hours later at about 4 a.m. and then drove it recklessly throughout the city streets.
Russell heard the call reporting the stolen plow had smashed into a posh auto dealership.
Police say Russell responded to the call and soon spotted the truck.
He noticed that the driver standing in the snow near the pickup was barefoot.
Russell, armed with a Taser, approached and tried to speak to the man, but the driver allegedly jumped back into the pickup and drove toward Russell.
Sources said the officer holstered his stun gun, pulled his sidearm and fired, grazing the driver's nose.
He slipped in the snow and lost his balance as the plow bore down on him, sources said.
An injured Russell managed to send one final, desperate message over his radio.