An RCMP officer who spent his entire career in the Maritimes has been confirmed as one of the victims of the earthquake that has devastated Haiti.
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott announced in Ottawa Thursday evening that Sgt. Mark Gallagher’s body had been recovered in the rubble of his apartment building.
“I have the sad task of confirming the death of Sgt. Gallagher,” said an emotional Elliott. “This is devastating news for Mark’s family and for all of us. My profound sympathies go out to Mark’s wife Lisa and their children Shane and Heather.”
Sgt. Gallagher, who would have been 51 next month, was part of a UN training force in Haiti. He began his career in Moncton, joining the RCMP 12 years ago, and served in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Before leaving for Haiti in July, he was the provincial media spokesperson for the Mounties in Nova Scotia and routinely appeared in provincial newspapers and on TV and radio.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Graham, speaking in Halifax on Thursday evening, says Gallagher’s death is a huge loss.
“Mark went to Haiti to make a difference,” he said. “His legacy as a police officer in Canada and during his time in Haiti is one of which his family and the force can be justifiably proud.”
Sgt. Gallagher had just returned to Haiti after a three-week break at home. He is one of four confirmed Canadians killed in Tuesday’s quake.
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, Justice Minister Ross Landry and Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered their condolences to the Gallagher family and the RCMP on Tuesday evening.
“Sgt. Gallagher was a fellow officer, and I am deeply saddened by this,” stated Landry, a former RCMP officer himself, in a release. “The RCMP is like a brotherhood and when one of your own is killed while doing his job, it is felt by all of us.”
A release from the RCMP says every effort is being made to return his body to Canada as quickly as possible.