'Why? What a waste of lives! What for?': Tributes, frustration pours in for Edmonton police officers killed in line of duty
Canadians respond to the deaths of two Edmonton police officers in the line of duty
Tribute messages continue flooding in from across Canada in the wake of the fatal shooting of two Edmonton police officers last Thursday.
At approximately 12:47 a.m. on March 16, EPS West Branch patrol members responded to a family dispute call in an apartment complex near 114 Avenue and 132 Street.
Two patrol members entered the building upon arrival, and upon approaching the suite, were shot by a young male suspect. According to Edmonton Police, the service members did not have time to discharge their service weapons and upon being rushed to hospital, were both declared deceased.
“This is an extremely tragic day for the Edmonton Police Service and our city,” said EPS Chief Dale McFee during a press release. “I’m deeply saddened to announce the Line of Duty deaths of two of our members that occurred earlier this morning. These officers gave their lives while trying to protect our community. They will never be forgotten.”
The deceased EPS members are West Branch patrol officers, Const. Brett Ryan, 30, with 5.5 years of service and Const. Travis Jordan, 35, with 8.5 years of service, according to the press release.
The young male shooter is also dead, after what investigators say is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"Today we lost our youngest son in the line of duty with EPS," the mother of Brett Ryan wrote in a Facebook post. "No words can begin to explain how deep our sorrow and pain is today He served his community with pride and commitment. He loved his wife and unborn baby, his brothers and us, his parents."
During a press conference on Thursday following the tragedy, both Alberta Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi issued statements.
"As a former police officer myself, this hits very close to home. To all my brothers and sisters out there, my heart is with you," Ellis said.
Sohi offered condolences on behalf of city council, city administration, and all Edmontonians to the family members impacted as well as the Edmonton Police Service.
🧵 We are all devastated to receive the news that Constable Travis Jordan and Constable Brett Ryan were murdered in the line of duty early this morning. #YEG pic.twitter.com/lNs3NQT8km
— Amarjeet Sohi (@AmarjeetSohiYEG) March 16, 2023
'We're here for you,' PM says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to share a statement following the deaths of the two officers.
Every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep people safe. The news that two @EdmontonPolice officers have been killed in the line of duty reminds us of that reality. I’m sending my condolences to the officers’ loved ones and colleagues – we’re here for you.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 16, 2023
The Edmonton Oilers also offered their condolences over social media in the wake of the shooting and said the officers would be honoured at the proceeding game.
We are deeply saddened to hear that two @edmontonpolice officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Our condolences go out to the families & loved ones of Const. Brett Ryan & Const. Travis Jordan as well as the entire EPS family who have always been our valued partners.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 16, 2023
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra dedicated their encore to the slain officers.
Tonight’s ESO encore at the @WinspearCentre was played by Rafael Hoekman who dedicated a piece to Constable Travis Jordan and Constable Brett Ryan of the @edmontonpolice service, and first responders community. Their loved ones are in our thoughts. #YEG #Edmonton pic.twitter.com/Fh8v5ezn6v
— Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (@edmsymphony) March 17, 2023
Across the country, Toronto's CN Tower dimmed its lights in honour of the two officers.
Tonight the #CNTower will dim for five minutes at the top of each hour in honour of Constable Brett Ryan and Constable Travis Jordan of the @edmontonpolice who died in the line of duty pic.twitter.com/83wrmuvNEv
— CN Tower / Tour CN (@TourCNTower) March 16, 2023
Public outraged at 'senseless' crime
The reaction on social media following the tragedy was one of heartbreak, anger and grief.
Many users wondered what the 16-year-old was doing with a gun in his possession.
So very, very sad, tragic, infuriating, -- so many emotions. Why? What a waste of lives! What for? What the hell was going on with that 16 year old that he had a gun? Those policeman were so young! It is so senseless.Prayers for you all and the families involved.
— CC (@Superhero12u) March 19, 2023
Others questioned why only two officers were sent to a family dispute call.
I am sorry about the death of two officers, I hope that the families of the officers can somehow try to make sense of this tragic events. Just wondering though I was always under the assumption that all responders to a domestic call that back up should be sent
— tom leonard (@tomleonard145) March 19, 2023
EPS deputy chief Devin Laforce told media that this was a typical response to the nature of the call during a press release Thursday.
“The call itself was a non-violent domestic dispute, where a mother is having difficulty with a 16-year-old son,” Laforce said, with no indicators of officers facing a violent or high-threat situation.
Others users drew connections between the lack of adequate mental-health coverage for Canadians and a gun ending up in the hands of a teenager.
"The systems put in place to protect Canadians has failed many times and will continue unless major changes take place," wrote Brenda Burdenuk.
EPS Deputy Chief Devin Laforce confirmed to media that there were several prior incidents involving the suspect that were categorized as a mental-health complaint.
Alberta premier criticized over sharing officer's funeral details prematurely
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is facing criticism for sharing details regarding the fallen officer's funeral plans prematurely during her weekly radio program.
"My understanding is there will be a regimental funeral on March 26 to honour the two of them and their service to Alberta,” the premier told listeners.
Smith was quickly accused of politicizing the officer's deaths by Edmonton-based RCMP officer Sherry Shima.
This was an inappropriate announcement at best. It's disrespectful to the families and the Edmonton Police Service members. The officers' deaths are not a political soapbox. https://t.co/juuVUxTVig
— Sgt. Kerry Shima (@KerryShima_RCMP) March 18, 2023
Following backlash over social media, the premier issued a statement reading "This morning I shared information on the regimental funerals for Constables Brett Ryan and Travis Jordan. The details of the funerals are not fully confirmed and finalized at the moment. I would ask that the public wait for the Edmonton Police to provide the date and full details when they become available."
Information on the public portion of the funeral arrangements for the fallen officers will be released as soon as it becomes available.
Should you wish to share a message of condolence, you can do so by submitting them to: email@example.com