First responders still affected by Czapnik's murder
Published Thursday, March 15, 2012 5:32PM EDT
Four paramedics who jumped in to do the work of a police officer said they're still haunted by what happened the night of Const. Eric Czapnik's murder.
Patricia St. Denis, Craig MacInnes, Amanda Walkowiak and Virginia Warner came to Czapnik's defence the night he was stabbed to death by Kevin Gregson.
The group told their story for the first time on Thursday afternoon, about a day and a half after Gregson was found guilty of first-degree murder.
"Everything really happened extremely quickly, we had to disarm him instead of help Eric," said St. Denis.
The group wrestled a knife-wielding Gregson away from the bleeding police officer and handcuffed him as doctors inside tried to save Czapnik's life on Dec. 29, 2009.
They've been given bravery awards for their actions but said Czapnik is the real hero and they feel some guilt they couldn't save him.
"We just did what we did and Eric is the true hero for us," said Walkowiak. "We're trained to help people and it's very difficult not being able to do that and making that choice."
"The first thing I did when I went home was call my children, sometimes we take things for granted," said MacInnes.
All four are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, with one unable to return to work as a paramedic.
"It's changed me as a person, it's changed my relationships with family and friends," said Walkowiak. "It affects your life, I think that it's difficult for others to understand but it does."
The group said Gregson's conviction is the start of their healing process.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem