WATCH: An Alberta man has been charged with murder in the shooting death of an Abbotsford police officer John Davidson. Tess van Straaten reports.
The flag at the B.C. legislature was lowered on Tuesday in honour of a police officer tragically killed in the line of duty.
Const. John Davidson was a veteran officer who started his 24-year career in the United Kingdom. He’d worked for the Abbotsford Police Department since 2006 and is being remembered as a dedicated officer who made a big difference in the lives of young people.
“John Davidson is my hero,” Chief Bob Rich of the Abbotsford Police Department told reporters on Tuesday. “He’s this community’s hero.”
The 53-year-old constable was killed while trying to arrest a car theft suspect who allegedly opened fire in the parking lot of a strip mall just before noon on Monday.
“We train our police officers that when somebody is putting people’s lives in danger when there’s an active shooter, we no longer wait for cover, we no longer set up teams,” an emotional Chief Rich explained. “The first person in goes and John Davidson was the first person in and he died protecting you and me.”
There’s been a huge outpouring of support in response to Const. Davidson’s death, with a growing memorial outside the police department as people leave candles, flowers and personal letters.
“It’s hard because we’re all coming together because he’s gone and it just breaks my heart,” a crying Drew Fournier said. “I can’t believe it.”
Fournier worked with Davidson on a drug prevention video after one of her friends died from an overdose.
“He was such an incredible person, always supportive and he was always funny and he was always there if you needed someone to talk to,” she said.
And for Davidson’s colleagues, many of whom felt compelled to leave their own tribute outside the police department, it’s like losing a member of the family.
“He wasn’t just a colleague or a friend, he was family,” Const. Carrie duRocher said. “We all became family so it’s difficult. He was an incredibly passionate, kind, caring, compassionate, funny guy.”
An Alberta man , Oscar Arfmann, has been charged with murder as the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team leads the investigation and police from across the Lower Mainland assist a grieving force.
“We’re hurting,” Chief Rich said. “We have people down on one knee and my order is you’re not allowed to get up and try to pretend your’re not down on one knee. We’ve lost John, we will lose no one else.”
Const. Davidson leaves behind a wife and three adult children.