Officer killed during shootout was 'a hero,' police chief says
Published Monday, November 6, 2017 12:42PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 7, 2017 10:23AM PST
Editor's note: On Tuesday, Nov. 7, the officer was identified as Const. John Davidson. Read the latest story here.
A police officer is dead following a shootout with a shotgun-wielding suspect in B.C.'s Fraser Valley.
The gunman allegedly opened fire on members of the public in a busy parking lot in Abbotsford Monday morning, then exchanged shots with the police who showed up to arrest him.
No bystanders were injured in the shooting or subsequent shootout, but one officer was struck and fatally wounded. He was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to hospital.
In a brief press conference held hours after the deadly confrontation, Police Chief Bob Rich said the fallen officer's sacrifice will not be forgotten.
"The officer who gave his life today is a hero,” Rich said. “He was protecting this community. He will always be my hero.”
The officer's name hasn't been released, but Rich confirmed that he has notified the man's family personally.
"I was able to meet with the spouse of this person and deliver the horrible news face-to-face. It's something I never wanted to have to do in my life, but I did it today,” Rich said.
The suspected gunman, an Alberta resident in his 60s, was also apparently shot, though not until fleeing to a second location where he was taken into custody.
According to police, the incident started around 11:35 a.m. near the Fraser Valley Auto Mall, where a witness called 911 to report what he believed to be a stolen vehicle.
The witness tried to block the car in while waiting for police, but the suspect stepped out of the vehicle with a shotgun and "began shooting at the caller and others," Chief Rich said.
Police then arrived at the scene, and the suspect allegedly shot the officer and drove off. Authorities managed to stop the stolen vehicle just blocks away, in the area of Mount Lehman Road and Old Yale Road.
Numerous gunshots can be heard in social media video captured at the scene.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is leading the probe into the fatal shooting. The Independent Investigations Office, which is tasked with probing any police-involved incident that results in death or serious injury, has also been called to review what happened.
There is no indication of police misconduct, however, and the chief said his officers all acted admirably.
"This person was trying to kill members of the public and our officers responded," Rich said. "Our officers' actions today, all of them, were absolutely heroic."
According to the IIO, the suspect is believed to have suffered gunshot wounds to his face and head, but was conscious in hospital Monday afternoon and is expected to survive.
One other officer was hospitalized, but not for injuries sustained during the shootout.
After hearing news of the tragedy, B.C. Premier John Horgan offered condolences to the deceased officer's family, friends and colleagues.
"As British Columbians, we are filled with grief at this tragic loss and give gratitude to all those who put their lives on the line for us every day," Horgan said in a statement.
As British Columbians, we are filled with grief at this tragic loss & give gratitude to those who put their lives on the line for us.— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) November 7, 2017