Sgt. Shinder Kirk is shown here during a 2013 press conference in Cranbrook with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. (Black Press file photo)

Retired Abbotsford Police sergeant dies in head-on crash

Shinder Kirk died Saturday in collision involving two pickup trucks in Nanaimo

A retired Abbotsford Police sergeant and former media spokesperson has been identified as the vicim of a fatal head-on crash Saturday in Nanaimo.

Shinder Kirk was the driver of a Chevy pickup truck that was involved in a collision with a Ford pickup at about 1:50 p.m. on Cedar Road near Cedar Bridge.

Nanaimo RCMP said two passengers from the Chevy were airlifted to hospital, with one taken to Vancouver and the other to Victoria. Their injuries were serious but not life-threatening, according to police.

The 22-year-old male driver of the Ford and his adult female passenger suffered minor injuries that did not require hospitalization.

RCMP said no causes for the crash have yet been determined, but the investigation will continue, including mechanical inspections of the vehicles involved.

Investigators said they do not believe that alcohol or speed were contributing factors, but weather and road conditions have not been ruled out.

Kirk began his policing career with the Vancouver Police Department in 1981, moving 10 years later to the Abbotsford Police Department.

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He was serving as a motorcycle cop and was filling in as a back-up media officer before being asked to take over the position full-time in 2000.

Kirk’s affable and calm manner soon earned him praise and respect from the media and the public alike.

He later became the media spokesperson for the RCMP Integrated Gang Task Force and then the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).

In 2012, he announced his retirement after more than 30 years of policing.

He continued to live in Abbotsford with his wife Wendy, with whom he had two daughters.

Tributes to Kirk have been pouring in on social media, including from Premier John Horgan.

“He was a warm and caring man, dedicated to fighting gang violence, and a much admired leader in the South Asian community,” he said on Twitter.

Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr wrote that the department had “lost a brother” and described Kirk as “a true gentleman who will be missed.”

Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, the current CFSEU spokesperson, also posted on Twitter.

“Shinder Kirk was professional, dedicated and passionate about making our communities safe from gang violence … We will miss him,” she said.

A tweet from the Surrey RCMP described Kirk as “a truly kind and dedicated police officer and amazing person,” while the CFSEU’s gang intervention team described him as “leader in gang prevention and intervention.”

– with files from the Nanaimo News Bulletin

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