ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) – Abbotsford Police have identified the officer who was killed in the line of duty yesterday.
Constable John Davidson was killed in a shootout with a suspected car thief.
He had worked as a police officer for 24 years.
Davidson’s career in law enforcement began in the U.K. He spent the most recent 11 years with Abbotsford Police, where he worked in the Patrol, Youth Squad and Traffic Sections. He had recently completed the Tour de Valley Cops for Cancer ride.
The force is remembering Davidson as a dedicated police officer who devoted much of his time connecting with the community and helping kids.
He is survived by his wife and three adult children.
“We’re a community that’s grieving the loss of a great police officer,” says Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, adding that Davidson was a school liason officer. “There’ll be a lot of students that will be grieving today because he was very much loved in the schools.”
Flags at schools in Abbotsford are being flown at half staff today.
Braun says Davidson was a family man and very involved in the community. “I didn’t know him well, but I had met him on a number of occasions. He’s going to be greatly missed. It’s not just our community — the police community is in grief, dealing with all of this.”
“I watch the news and I see things in other communities and I said to myself that it would never happen here. And now, it has happened and we’re dealing with that grief and that loss.”
He adds the community needs to come together. “Right now, we just want to wrap our collective arms as a community around this family because they’re hurting and life will never be the same for them. He left on a shift, expecting to come home at night. That didn’t happen and it’s not ever going to happen now.”
“The public runs away from danger — as they rightly should — but police officers are the ones who then run into that danger. Unfortunately, an officer… laid down his life to save others because this man was shooting at members of the public,” says Braun.
Police and community in mourning
Flowers were piled up among flickering candles outside the office of the Abbotsford Police Department this morning as a memorial to Davidson continues to grow.
Members of the community have been showing their respect and employees of the department have been consoling each other, as the flowers sit knee-high at the front doors.
“I’ve always said that we work in an absolutely amazing community. We lost a friend. We lost a hero. And we lost family member yesterday. But in so many ways, our family as grown,” says Constable Ian MacDonald.
He’s thanking first responders who helped the Abbotsford Police Department through an extremely difficult day yesterday.
“There is not a police department or detachment in the province that didn’t reach out to us. We had boots on the ground that came out and supplemented our numbers yesterday while we were dealing with this horrific incident. Officers from all over the Lower Mainland actually came out. Deserved thanks for helping to police our community.”
The death of the officer — killed in a shootout with a suspected car thief yesterday –has come as a blow to the entire community. Notes of sympathy and support outside the police headquarters are addressed to both the officer’s family and the force.
“We know that there are so many people out there that support police. Not just in this community, but throughout the province and the country. We want them to know that we see them. We feel them. And we appreciate it,” says MacDonald.
The outpouring of support and sympathy doesn’t surprise the mayor.
“This is a very caring community. It is a community that loves its police force,” says Braun.
“This is the first officer that’s been shot and killed in the line of duty in Abbotsford and I hope it’s the last.”
Yesterday, Davidson’s body was driven to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, given a full first-responder escort. Each and every Highway 1 overpass along the route was lined with members of the RCMP and Vancouver Police department.
A 60-year-old man from Alberta, who was also injured, is in custody.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is in charge of the investigation.
This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies on Twitter, saying “Police work is harm’s way to protect us all. My deepest sympathies to the family of the @AbbyPoliceDept officer killed in the line of duty.”
The Independent Investigations Office has an obligation to look into how the suspect was injured.
“Any time that an individual suffers serious injury that may have been caused by a police officer, we have a statutory obligation to investigate that, So it’s not like we have a choice,” explains Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald.
He adds the last he heard, the suspect was in the hospital but is expected to be okay after he was shot.