BC Ferries is offering free rides between Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland this week for first responders attending the funeral for RCMP Const. Rick O’Brien, who died on the job last month.
The ferry company says officers and emergency first responders, along with their vehicles, can ride for free this Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 4 and 5, if they’re attending O’Brien’s regimental funeral scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Langley.
It’s happening at the Langley Events Centre on 200 Street and will include a procession, a memorial service and a final salute for O’Brien, according to BC RCMP. There will be temporary road closures around the events centre.
BC Ferries says the free ride offer applies to those attending the funeral from various agencies, including Emergency First Responders, RCMP and police, first departments, BC Ambulance Service, Canada Customs and Immigration, Canadian Forces and National Defence, Corrections Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
In a release, it says uniform or official badge identification must be presented to the ticket agent at check-in to receive complimentary travel.
O’Brien, 51, was an officer with the Ridge Meadows RCMP.
He was killed on Friday, Sept. 22, as Mounties were executing a search warrant at a home in Coquitlam as part of a drug investigation. While there, officers got into an altercation with a man, resulting in O’Brien being fatally shot.
Two other officers were also injured, including one who was also shot. Both suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were released from hospital.
The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Nicholas Bellemare of Coquitlam, was also shot and injured himself, resulting in non-life-threatening injuries. He’s been charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder with a firearm.
None of the charges have been proven in court.
According to RCMP, O’Brien, who is survived by his wife and children, had recently celebrated his seventh year on the force. Those who knew him described him as humble, genuine and very funny, and said he let his personality shine through interactions and photos.
“He was more than just a police officer,” said Jeanette Martin, creator and co-founder of the Gratitude and Appreciation Summit and a friend of O’Brien and his wife.
“He was one that was not afraid to show his true humanity,” she said. “He was himself, and that’s what he delivered to the force; it’s that kind humbleness, out to the world.”
A GoFundMe campaign created by the National Police Federation Benevolent Foundation in partnership with the National Police Federation has raised more than $157,000 for O’Brien’s family. A link to the fundraiser is here.
-with files from CHEK’s Adam Chan, The Canadian Press