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Jiu-Jitsu academy hosting fundraiser Saturday for fallen officer

'We’re doing everything we can to support (Greg Pierzchala's) family and help them in every way we can,' says Spencer Lalonde

Submission Arts Academy in Barrie will hold a fundraiser Saturday for the family of OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala.

“It’s called a roll-a-thon, so people will come in and they’ll train and then we’ll just be there working together to support Greg and his family,” said Spencer Lalonde, owner and lead trainer of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy.

“A roll-a-thon is a what we call a charity event in the grappling community, as we call sparring a ‘roll’, hence the play on word.”

Pierzchala, 28, was shot and killed Dec. 27 while responding to a call for a vehicle in a ditch just west of Hagersville that Tuesday afternoon. A 28-year-old man and a woman, 30, are charged with first-degree murder in relation to the shooting.

Born in Toronto,  Pierzchala grew up in Barrie, attending St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School. He had been with OPP for just more than a year and had been notified he had passed his 10-month probation period just hours before his death.

Pierzchala trained at Submission Arts Academy for more than two years.

“I’ve known Greg since he was a young boy and I’ve been a big part of his life,” said Lalonde. “It’s devastating to the entire grappling community. We’re mourning at this time and it’s been overwhelming.

“We’re doing everything we can to support his family and help them in every way we can.”

Lalonde said all funds raised will be donated to the Holy Spirit Parish in Barrie, as per the family’s request.

“Our goal was $2,000 and we’ve already exceeded that number,” he said.

The fundraiser begins Jan. 7 at 11 a.m., at 112 Commerce Park Dr.

Pierzchala’s private funeral service will be held today (Jan. 4) at Sadlon Arena, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., followed by the funeral mass at Holy Spirit Parish on Essa Road from 2-3 p.m., and interment 3:30-4 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery on Sunnidale Road.