Under a bright sun on streets wrapped in a chill wind, the formal goodbye for two Edmonton police officers began Monday with a solemn procession from the legislature through the city’s downtown.
The caskets of Const. Travis Jordan and Const. Brett Ryan inched along in side-by-side black hearses followed by block, after block, after block of police officers from across Canada. There were Edmonton officers in dress blues and black pants, and Mounties in red serge and Stetsons.
They marched eight abreast, arms swinging amid the pipes and drums of interspersed marching bands while onlookers lined the streets, staring, some with hands in pockets, others holding up their cellphones.
Some held up placards with painted blue hearts, others placed their right hands over their hearts as the hearses passed.
High overhead, a helicopter clattered.
“We’re here to support all of the first responders but in particular our son, who is a police officer with Calgary Police Services,” said Jim Funk, who attended the procession with wife, Chris.
“We feel so sad, especially for the families of the two officers, but that extends out to the whole first responder family nationwide.”
Said Chris Funk: “It’s probably the worst nightmare families can experience.”
The officers were ambushed and shot at multiple times while responding to a family dispute at a northwest apartment complex on March 16. Police said the shooter, 16, then shot and wounded his mother during a struggle for the gun, before shooting and killing himself.
At Monday’s procession, side streets were blocked off with police, fire and city trucks, their emergency lights winking, outlining the path to Rogers Place.
Thousands of police, emergency service members and the military were expected to join the families of Jordan and Ryan at a regimental funeral service at the arena in the afternoon.
The service was not open to the public, but there was to be a livestream broadcast in the outdoor plaza near the arena.
The officers grew up on opposite sides of the country.
Jordan, 35, hailed from Nova Scotia. He was born in Digby, grew up in Coldbrook and worked as a jail guard in Kentville before moving across the country and joining the Edmonton Police Service more than eight years ago.
He played hockey, soccer, golf, volunteered for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, enjoyed travelling with his wife, Annie, and spending time with his dogs, Teddy and B.J.
Ryan, 30, was born in Edmonton and grew up in Fox Creek in northern Alberta and later lived Spruce Grove, just west of the Alberta capital.
He worked as a paramedic before joining the Edmonton force more than five years ago. He was a golfer, fisher, hunter and minor hockey referee. He married wife, Ashley, in 2015 and she is pregnant with their first child.
Police continue to investigate the circumstances of the shooting and say the same gun was used days earlier at a nearby Pizza Hut, leaving a man injured.
Police had also been called to the teen’s home in November. He was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital for an assessment.
The day of the deadly shooting, the boy’s mother called saying she was having trouble with her son. Police said there was no indication the boy had a gun or that the officers were walking into a high-risk or dangerous situation.
There have been 10 officers killed in the line of duty in Edmonton.
The most recent previous death was of Const. Daniel Woodall, who was shot in 2015 trying to enter the house of a suspect wanted for criminal harassment.
—Ritika Dubey and Angela Amato, The Canadian Press