John Stolarski’s Old Newspaper Clippings

RCMP coffee cup




With the exception of his first two years in the Force, John Stolarski spent his entire career as a Police Dog Services handler.





Throughout this career, John clipped newspaper articles about members who he had worked with.

Despite the fact that John has passed away, his family has agreed for us to re-post these articles for the interest of RCMP Veterans and current members of the Force.




August 18 1967 (Saskatoon, Sask) – SHELL LAKE – Rumours persist here that RCMP officers are trying to locate a specific suspect in their investigation into the mass-murder of the Peterson family.

However, Staff Sergeant R. E. Sondergaard, press liaison officer, denied the rumor that one particular former resident has been tabbed as the killer.

Sgt. Sondergaard expressed surprise when the Star-Phoenix asked point-blank whether this person had been identified as the killer.

I can only say that we are checking out a number of names,” he said.

Sgt. Sondergaard appeared startled when the Star-Phoenix named the former resident as the suspect, inquiring the source of the information.

RCMP units in North Battleford and Saskatoon said they had no knowledge of a request from RCMP in Shell Lake to send them details and descriptions of the former resident.

On an around-the-clock basis the more than 50 RCMP here hunt, investigate, identify and analyze any possible leads they can come up with in the hope that if they don’t get the big break they might at least come up with something by the process of elimination.

In the meantime, the people of Shell Lake go about their business, meet occasionally to form committees, to deal with matters arising from the tragedy, and they think and they wonder.
Alone behind locked doors or in a boisterous group they plan the guessing game trying to unravel the mysteries of the psychopathic killings. Was there one or more men involved? The best bet, they say , is one and even the RCMP have hinted this is the likelier possibility, though they will say nothing on that officially.

It would be too much a coincidence for two people with minds like that to meet up,” said one local resident.

But, on the other hand people wonder if one man could manage to kill 20 many and do it so quickly that even some of the older children were shot while in their sleep.

How did he, or they, get into the place? Until now doors were never locked around here and there is a possibility someone just walked in.

Apparently, police are also considering the possibility of an entry gained through the bedroom window as the outside screens had been removed. But no one knows. Were they pushed out by Mrs. Peterson as she tried to escape with the baby, or were they removed as the quiet of the night from the outside?

The third and most frightening possibility is: Could he have been known to Mr. Peterson and walked into the house as an invited visitor?

W.J. Lange, who discovered the bodies in the morning, said he left the Peterson’s the night before at around 10 p.m. He said at that time they were putting the children to bed and he could see no reason why they should not follow their usual pattern of going to bed shortly thereafter. They may have stayed up if they had a visitor, he said.

With the time of the shooting placed somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m. why was it that Mrs. Peterson was fully-dressed when she was murdered? Mr. Peterson was found laying across the porch door in his undershorts, possibly indicating he was either ready for bed or just arisen.

Police and residents have ruled out the likelihood of any lover or anything else of a similar scandalous nature.

NOTE: Victor Hoffman was 21 years old at the time and had been released from amental hospital just three weeks before the murders. On the morning of August 15 he entered the Petersons’ farm armed with a .22-calibre Browning pump-action repeater rifle.

He then proceeded to shoot all members of the Peterson family, seven of them children, at close range around the four-room house. According to police 28 shots were fired in total, of which 27 found their target.

Mr. Peterson was shot in the kitchen, while his wife Evelyn and her one-year-old baby were found in the backyard. The other six children were shot while sleeping in their bedrooms. Their ages ranged from 2 to 17 years old. Phyllis Peterson, then 4 years old, was the lone survivor of the massacre.[3] She was sleeping under the bedclothes between her two sisters and thus was not noticed by Hoffman. However, Hoffman later declared that he spared her because “she had the face of an angel.”

The bodies were found by Wildrew Lang who was to help Mr. Peterson with farm duties later that morning. He had to travel 6 km (3.7 mi) to the next telephone post before he could report the incident to the police. The police immediately started an extensive manhunt on the surroundings of the house.
Hoffman was found not guilty by reason of insanity on non-capital murder charges in February 1968.


November 25, 1966 – Minnedose, Manitoba – A young rural school teacher died in hospital today after a shooting incident Friday night at this Western Manitoba town when an RCMP constable was pounded in the face.

Barry Charles Boch, 19, died in Winnipeg General Hospital where he was taken after he was found lying on a porch at the rear of his Minnedosa home with a bullet wound in the forehead and a .22-calibre rifle at his side.

Police, awaiting the arrival of tear-gas equipment and reinforcements, found Boch less than an hours after two RCMP constables drove to his home to question him about a traffic mishap and were met with a burst of gunfire.

Constable Kenneth M. Bullock (Reg.#24426) , 22, a native of Sombra, Ontario, fell wounded in the face and was in fair condition after surgery today at Brandon General Hospital.
RCMP said that at no time were any shots fired by police. Boch was a permit teacher at a rural school in the Onanole area, near the resort centre of Clear Lake, Minnedosa is about 30 miles north of Brandon.

Parents At Wedding

An RCMP spokesman said there was no apparent reason for the shooting and said they had no record that the dead youth had ever been in trouble previously with the law. His parents were reported attending a wedding in Winnipeg at the time.

The sequence began with a call to police from a service station operator at the outskirts of this quiet community of 3,000. He reported a car had broken off a gasoline pump and left the scene.

Constable Bullock and Constable R.J. Dolhy (Reg.#24847), 21, drove to a house in the residential area and wren met by several shots as they got out of their cruiser. Constable Dolhy helped his wounded partner into the car and they drove to Minnedosa Hospital, radioing for assistance.

Found on Porch

The five-man Minnedosa detachment kept the house under surveillance pending the arrival of seven other policemen with tear-gas equipment from Brandon and Elpinstone. Before they arrived, however, the youth was found on the porch.

Police estimated 45 minutes to an hour had elapsed since the first shots were fired.

It was the second shooting in a week of an RCMP officer on the Prairies. On Tuesday Constable Gordon Pearson died after being shot while investigating a restaurant disturbance on the outskirts of Edmonton.

NOTE: Sergeant Ken Bullock went on to serve in “F” Division and “HQ” Division. He retired from the Force on June 1, 2001.


Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Donald Gowett (Reg.#1953).

REGINA – An RCMP constable from Vancouver remained in critical condition today from a severe beating while fellow officers continued their hunt for the last of seven jail escapees.
Constable Donald G. Rowett (Reg.#19453), 30, a native of Vancouver, is in General Hospital here having undergone an operation for severe head injuries.

The seven men fled from the Regina Correctional Institute Sunday by scaling a wall. One was picked up almost immediately.

On Monday, Rowett and Constable D.R. Vincent, 27, taking part in the search, were overpowered and viciously assaulted when they stopped a stolen car containing five men.
RCMP headquarters in Regina said a sixth man was recaptured near Yorkton at 5:30 a.m. today, leaving one inmate still at large.

Constable Vincent is in hospital in Kamsack with severe cuts and bruises and possible skull fractures. His condition is satisfactory.

Constable Rowett was flown by air ambulance from Kamsack to Regina for emergency surgery.
Rowett’s wife died May 31 following an appendicitis operation. He has three children, Patty, 4, Rickie 2, and Cindy, 6.

NOTE: S/Sgt. Don Rowett passed while in the Force on January 29, 1990.


November 22, 1966 – Edmonton – An RCMP constable was shot to death early today while investigating a disturbance and Charles W. Hill, 26, of Edmonton has been charged with capital murder. He was to appear in police court today.

The constable killed was Gordon Donald Pearson (Reg.#23018), 23, of Montney, BC.
Adolpos Savard, 31, of Edmonton, one of two other men wounded, was reported in critical condition in hospital. Donald E. l’Hirondelle of Villeneuve, Alta., was reported in serious condition.

The shooting occurred in a restaurant at Winterburn on Edmonton’s western boundary.
An unidentified woman who was in the restaurant said that after the constable had quelled the disturbance, a man walked into the restaurant and fired at the constable.

Two hours after the murder 20 carloads of RCMP and Edmonton police surrounded an apartment block at 10048 – 154 Street and talked a man into giving a loaded rifle to them and surrendering.

At the site of the shooting, the stricken policeman was placed in his police car by an unidentified woman who didn’t know how to operate the siren or flasher. She drove him to Royal Alexandra Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Pearson had only been married 2.5 months. His widow, the former Harmien Waver, was born in Neerlandia, Alberta.

An unidentified woman said that after the initial shot ‘everyone dived for the floor to hide under stools. I ran out the back door and hid behind a large box.’

“Then I heard another gunshot, and a man following me through the door was knocked down by the force of the bullet. I didn’t know whether he was killed or not.

NOTECharles W. Hill, 26, of Edmonton, was charged with the murder of Constable Pearson.

June 1966 - RCMP Inspector W.W. Pearson, officer commanding of the Saskatoon subdivision headquarters, reviews his troops in the traditional semi-annual inspection. Accompanying him at the inspection held Tuesday at the Unicorn of the non-commissioned officer are (left) Staff-Sergeant F.W. O’Donnell and (centre)Corporal B.D. Baird. During the parade, the troops performed military drill exercises.

June 1966 – RCMP Inspector W.W. Pearson, officer commanding of the Saskatoon subdivision headquarters, reviews his troops in the traditional semi-annual inspection. Accompanying him at the inspection held Tuesday at the Unicorn of the non-commissioned officer are (left) Staff-Sergeant F.W. O’Donnell and (centre)Corporal B.D. Baird. During the parade, the troops performed military drill exercises.


Graduation parade rehearsal, when scarlet tunics are worn for first time.

Graduation parade rehearsal, when scarlet tunics are worn for first time.

January 18, 1958 (The Star Weekly) It’s no accident that Canada’s famed Royal Canadian Mounted Police force ranks with the finest law enforcement agencies in the world.

Rigid physical, educational and psychological standards influence selection of the recruits – they’ve an average age of 19, are enlisted as third class constables, are paid $2,760 a year. And getting into the force is the easiest part.

Class watches as two men experiment with hand-to-hand combat techniques.

Class watches as two men experiment with hand-to-hand combat techniques.

Half the recruits go to Regina for their six-to-eight months basic training – the remainder to “N” Division at Ottawa’s Rockcliffe park, where these photos were taken. Here they undergo rigorous preparation for duties more varied than any other force in the world. In ships and planes, cars and trucks, motorcycles and snowmobiles, the RCMP enforces special federal laws (against income tax evasion, narcotics traffic, etc…) from one end of Canada to the other. They also serve as provincial police in all the provinces except Ontario and Quebec, and as local police in more than 100 cities and towns. In addition, they have their special responsibilities in the far north, where they’re magistrates, postmasters, coroners, sheriffs, customs inspectors and tax collectors. They also issue dog licenses, perform marriages and pay out family allowances.

To carry out this vast range of duties in its 3,600,000 square miles of territory, the RCMP has 5,067 men, about the same number as the police force of Detroit.

john Stolarski block