Rick, or “Hoppy” as he was sometimes called was born in Toronto on May 27, 1950 and joined the OPP on November 4, 1971, just four months after his twenty-first birthday. He was a ten-year veteran of the OPP when he lost his life on May 9, 1982.
On Sunday May 9, 1982, Constable J.B. Henderson joined Rick on routine patrol in the Mount Forest detachment area. A complaint was received at one a.m. regarding a shooting. A young man had been hitchhiking in Arthur Township just south of Mount Forest. The windshield of the car, in which he was riding in, had been shattered when a man standing at the side of the road fired a rifle directly at the car. The incident was reported to police. Both Hopkins and Henderson drove in the direction of Arthur towards the intersection of Highways 6 and 9, but did not notice any suspicious cars or persons.
Three hours after the original call was received, the Mount Forest car was in Arthur. There had been a fire at a local store. The fire chief reported that a man had been seen behind the store carrying a rifle. They patrolled the area and found a man carrying a long gun in each hand. The suspect turned and fired a shotgun, directly at Constable Hopkins hitting him in the neck and upper chest. Rick was wearing body armour at the time but the Kevlar only covered his chest. Despite the desperate efforts of two nurses who were passing by and were able to provide immediate assistance, neither of them could stop the bleeding. Rick passed away within a few minutes. Constable Henderson fired his service revolver at the shooter but decided to stay with his mortally wounded partner until back up arrived. A twenty-one year old man was arrested and charged with murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Rick’s life was celebrated in a service that was attended by police officers from all over North America.