A high-ranking Ottawa Police officer who exhibited “kindness and warmth” took his own life at Elgin St. 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.
The mood was sombre at the central station, where Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau addressed media late Sunday.
“Kal had a way to deal with people,” including the press, said Bordeleau.
“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 & enter, street crime, and human trafficking, “yet can still find humour in life,” he wrote in his Twitter profile.
Ghadban’s office and locker were behind police tape Sunday, where officers sat guard.
Ghadban, a 22-year veteran, recently posted an image on Twitter relating to 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.
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.”
MacLeod was referring to teens in 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 in the south-end village 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 Rockcliffe break-in at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s house.
“He’s very smart, passionate, strategic in his thinking, and he cared deeply about the community,” said Bordeleau.
River Coun. Maria McRae tweeted she would “always fondly remember Ghadban’s kindness and warmth. Thinking about his family.”
Bordeleau said he visited Ghadban’s parents and wife.
Police are “helping them through this difficult time,” he said.
The investigation into Ghadban’s death is ongoing, said Bordeleau, and the Special Investigations Unit has invoked its mandate.
“These will be difficult days ahead of us,” said Bordeleau.
— With files from Danielle Bell