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Murder of Edmonton police officers “resonates” locally

Barrhead mayor, a 20-year RCMP vet, calls March 16 murder of EPS officers “just another needless tragedy”
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WESTLOCK – While Canadians are shocked and saddened following the cold-blooded murder of two Edmonton police officers last Thursday — the first officers to be killed in the line of duty in the city in nearly eight years — the tragedy has struck a chord with members of the Westlock RCMP Detachment for its similarity to a recent incident now under investigation by the Alberta RCMP Serious Crimes Branch (SCB).

Acting Westlock detachment commander Cpl. Riley Sutherland said the March 16 murders of Edmonton Police Service Const. Travis Jordan, 35, and Const. Brett Ryan, 30, while responding to a domestic violence call in the city’s west end “resonates” with them as on March 11, Westlock RCMP officers were conducting a follow-up investigation in relation to a domestic dispute.

During that investigation, they learned the suspect, who was staying at a local motel, “had outstanding warrants and was likely in possession of a firearm.” The RCMP release goes on to note that during the execution of the warrant, an officer discharged their duty pistol, but no one was injured — see that story here

“It resonates with us because we had such a similar investigation and we certainly empathize with the members of the EPS for their loss,” said Sutherland, who offered her condolences to the family and friends of the slain officers. “Certainly, it affects members here also because … I have a family member who is EPS and one of the members that was killed worked previously with members here in Westlock when he was a paramedic.

“Even though EPS is a different police force, we have strong ties.”

Communities across the region lowered their flags to half-mast in honour of the fallen officers, with Town of Barrhead mayor Dave McKenzie, a 20-year veteran of the RCMP, calling the killings “just another needless tragedy.” McKenzie noted that throughout his policing career he responded to countless domestic disputes and said he never knew “what to expect or what you will be confronted with on the scene.”

According to published reports, the shooter was a 16-year-old boy who also shot his mother, now currently in hospital, before taking his own life. Constables Jordan and Ryan, who served in the West Division, were shot and killed upon arriving at the scene about 12.47 a.m. and there is no indication if they were able to fire shots in defence.

“In domestic dispute situations, emotions are running hot, and you never know what to expect or what you will be confronted with on the scene,” McKenzie said.

“The public who are protected by first responders, and the police in particular, need to realize the risk these individuals subject themselves to. Sometimes the public questions the tactics and methods of police in particular when approaching scenes, but they need to understand all the dynamics that can take place and how quickly things can go from in control to out of control, and these tactics and strategies are used to put the officers in the safest possible position to deal what they are confronted with. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback, but when it is you that has to make these split second often life or death decisions, then it’s not as simple.”

• With files from Barry Kerton

George Blais,


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