PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - Police in Saskatchewan say they are still trying to determine why a veteran officer allegedly finished his shift last week and, still wearing his uniform, shot and killed a man.
RCMP Cpl. Bernie Herman, 53, faces a charge of first-degree murder in Tuesday’s death of 26-year-old Braden Herman in Prince Albert.
Police have said the men knew each other for several years but were not related.
Insp. Craig Mushka with the Prince Albert Police Service said Bernie Herman, a member of the RCMP’s traffic unit in the city, phoned a colleague that day and “made disturbing comments that he had killed someone.”
“The accused agreed to come to his co-worker’s house located just north of Prince Albert,” said Mushka.
“Once at the residence, the RCMP were contacted — as the house is in their jurisdiction — and the accused was taken into custody without incident.”
Braden Herman’s body was then found in a wooded area of Little Red River Park. Mushka said investigators believe that’s where he was shot and killed.
The park falls within city limits, so city police were contacted and took responsibility for the investigation, he added.
Bernie Herman’s service pistol and other use-of-force equipment were seized, Mushka said, but it has not been confirmed if the officer’s gun was used in the killing.
Mushka said city police have previously conducted investigations that involve both Bernie Herman and Braden Herman but he did not give details.
He also said it’s too early in the investigation to speak to a motive for the shooting.
Brad Mitchell, Bernie Herman’s lawyer, said Tuesday he had no comment on the new information provided by police.
Braden Herman’s family have said he and the officer grew up in neighbouring northern Saskatchewan communities — Braden Herman was from Clearwater River Dene Nation and Bernie Herman was from La Loche.
Brett Herman said his brother also lived with the officer and his wife at some point within the last three years. He said he had seen the two men together and described their relationship as almost familial.
“Bernie would refer to him like a father-son kind of thing,” said Brett. “I’ve heard him call him ‘my boy’ in person, in front of me.
“He was fairly nice in public ... I don’t know how he was to him behind closed doors.”
Both Brett Herman and DeeDee Herman also alleged their younger brother was being harassed by the officer.
DeeDee Herman said her brother complained that the officer was often pulling him over to give him tickets.