An Alberta community peace officer and retired RCMP undercover officer who died after an on-duty altercation Friday once helped put a Merritt killer behind bars.
Rod Lazenby died in Priddis, in the Municipal District of Foothills south of Calgary, after an altercation at a rural property where he responded to what police describe as a dog-related call.
RCMP have charged Trevor Kloschinsky, 46, with first-degree murder in connection with the death. Police say he makes his first court appearance Monday morning in Calgary to face the charge.
RCMP released few details about what happened except to say no shots were fired. Kloschinsky was known to police, but did not have a criminal record.
Peace officers with the Foothills district do not carry guns, but are armed with pepper spray and a baton.
Lazenby, who retired three years ago after 35 years with RCMP, testified in Kamloops in 2001 at the first-degree murder trial of Patrick Fischer, a Merritt man RCMP believed was responsible for the death of Darci Dawn Drefko, 16. She was found dead in May 1999.
In B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops, Lazenby, who supervised the undercover investigation, described the sophisticated tactics his team used to gain Fischer's confidence and obtain a confession.
Posing as members of a criminal organization, the RCMP team "hired" Fischer to perform a number of seemingly criminal activities.
In the end, the team videotaped Fischer's confession to another officer he believed was the crime boss. The suspect admitted he strangled Drefko, dumped her body in a wooded area near Merritt then burned a sleeping bag he used to take her there.
He said he was told to kill the girl by a Surrey gang leader who was angry at Drefko with claims she talking about their drug and prostitution activities.
Fischer was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Lazenby also once posed as a high-ranking mobster in an undercover sting in Ontario. In 2002, Lazenby aided Ottawa police by befriending Andre Jeanvenne, accused of the Jan. 1983 shotgun slaying of Donald Poulin in Gloucester, Ont.
Lazenby, who called himself Rod Calabria, assumed an Italian accent and wined and dined the suspect at a steak house and a stripper club to get him to talk.
An autopsy is scheduled for today in Calgary to determine the cause of Lazenby's death.
June Caswell, who lives next door to the property where Lazenby had been dispatched, said dogs on the property were noisy. She said her neighbours reported their complaints to the district, but she said she and her husband never did.
She said the problems with t dogs had been ongoing for a couple of years.
Amber Kerr, a manager at the Priddis Cafe and Grill, said the man who other customers told herhe lived on the property was a bit of a problem at the business earlier this year.
"He used to come in the cafe sometimes and use the phone and would absolutely scream at the (municipal district) about his dogs," said Kerr.
- THE DAILY NEWS/THE CANADIAN PRESS