12-year-old Florida boy runs in honour of slain Toronto police officer

A 12-year-old boy from Florida ran a mile in honour of a Toronto police officer killed in the line of duty last week.

Zechariah Cartledge, along with a few local first responders, ran seven laps around his former elementary school track for Const. Jeffrey Northrup in the rain on Monday. The Canadian national anthem was played prior to the run, as was “Amazing Grace.”

“We really think that up there in Canada, they're really like the neighbors of the north to us,” Cartledge said. “We really appreciate everything they do for us and we really wanted to respect their officers and let them know that we're also supporting them along the way.”

Northrup was intentionally struck by a vehicle while responding to a call in the parking garage located underneath Toronto’s City Hall on July 2. He was a member of the Toronto Police Service for 31 years.

His body was escorted to a funeral home over the weekend.

Speaking to CP24 on Tuesday morning, Cartledge said that he started the non-profit Running 4 Heroes to raise funds for the family of first responders after he was inspired by a five-kilometre race with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

“I was inspired during the race, all the first responders in their full gear running with me, and I was only nine or 10 years old. I was very curious to learn more,” he said.

As part of Running 4 Heroes, a mile is run for every first responder who is killed in the line of duty. A flag is then sent to the family or agency of the deceased along with a handwritten note.

Running 4 Heroes also raises money for an injured first responder grant program. Every month the non-profit donates a minimum of $10,000 to a first responder injured in the line of duty. According to their website, Running 4 Heroes donated more than $85,000 in 2020. They hope to provide at least $120,000 in grants this year.

Cartledge says that he hopes to bring some of those grants to Canada—as soon as he gets a passport.

Cartledge has run for two Canadian police officers this year.