The family of Const. Rick O’Brien has asked people to wear red on the day of his funeral, in lieu of flowers or other outpourings of sympathy.
The funeral for the Langley resident who worked at the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment is underway in Langley today (Wednesday, Oct. 4), having started with a procession through his neighbourhood to the Langley Events Centre, where large numbers are expected for the service.
Streets around the events centre have been blocked off to allow for the procession that is part of a regimental funeral. The funeral service starts at 2 p.m. People can watch it livestreamed on the RCMP’s YouTube channel rcmptv.
O’Brien spoke at a Gratitude and Appreciation Summit in 2020 about becoming a Mountie.
“To be able to do the job I do now is so rewarding,” he said.
O’Brien, 51, was a seven-year member with the detachment and was one of several officers executing a search warrant on a residence in Coquitlam, near the intersection of Pinetree Way and Glen Drive on the evening of Friday, Sept. 22.
BC RCMP Commanding Officer Dwayne McDonald said he couldn’t comment on the “theme” of the search warrant, but it was a long-term investigation.
McDonald confirmed there was an altercation between the officers and a man, which led to multiple officers being injured and the man being shot. McDonald said the suspect, a man in his mid-20s, was known to police and sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the encounter.
The two other officers were treated and have since been released from hospital.
A procession for a fallen Ridge Meadows RCMP officer made its way through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Friday evening, Sept. 22, with an escort of about 70 police vehicles.
Police officers blocked intersections along Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road as they escorted O’Brien’s body to Abbotsford.
Born in Ottawa, O’Brien lived in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood with his wife, Nicole Longacre-O’Brien and their six children.
The National Police Federation Benevolent Foundation set up a fundraiser for his family at gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-cst-obrien. As of Wednesday, the total had surpassed $161,000. The goal is $175,000.
“He cared deeply about making a difference for young people, and will be remembered for bringing a smile to any room. Rick spent his life in service of others, and took great pride in wearing the RCMP uniform,” said Kevin Halwa, chair of the foundation, who set up the fundraiser.
O’Brien came to policing in middle age, and had served all of his seven years with the detachment serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
In his first year of service, he and six other officers disrupted a violent home invasion where a child was present. The police’s actions led to the arrest of four armed suspects. He, along with the other members, received a Commissioner’s Commendation pin and an Award of Valour.
With the RCMP, he was assigned to the Uniformed Community Response Unit. UCRU is a community based policing unit to serve the youth, homeless, mental health and First Nations people in the community, also supporting the general duty members.
Before the RCMP, he was an education assistant, a mental health worker, a youth worker, and a supervisor in these various fields.
He was also a supporter of the Langley Rams Junior football club that plays in the BC Football Conference, and in 2019 he presented the Canadian Bowl Trophy for the national championship. The Rams honoured him with a pre-game ceremony Saturday, Sept. 30.
A similar tribute was held that evening at the Langley Rivermen game. O’Brien had planned to attend the hockey team’s home game on the day he was fatally shot.