Thousands march at regimental funeral for RCMP officer killed in Coquitlam, B.C.
Thousands of officers in uniform filled the event centre in Langley, B.C., to attend a regimental funeral for RCMP Const. Rick O’Brien who was killed last month in Coquitlam while executing a drug-related search warrant.
Const. Rick O’Brien, father of 6, was shot dead executing a drug-related search warrant
Funeral for B.C. RCMP Const. Rick O’Brien
Featured VideoThe RCMP hold a regimental funeral for Const. Rick O’Brien, a Ridge Meadows officer killed in the line of duty.
The sound of drums and pipes pierced the autumn air in Langley, B.C., on Wednesday afternoon as the RCMP paid tribute to one of their own lost in the line of duty.
Thousands of officers in uniform took part in a regimental procession and funeral for Rick O’Brien, 51, who was killed in September while executing a drug-related search warrant at a home in Coquitlam, B.C.
Officers from around the province, including RCMP, other police services, firefighters, military and others attended the ceremony for O’Brien, who is the 10th police officer to be killed in Canada since September of last year.
Mourning officers marched to the Langley Event Centre for a memorial service, following the hearse carrying O’Brien’s coffin, the RCMP pipe band and a riderless horse to symbolize a fallen member of the force.
O’Brien was a decorated constable who recently celebrated seven years of service, having become a Mountie in 2016. He leaves behind a wife and six children.
Seating at the events centre was reserved for family, invited guests, designated officials and uniformed first responders participating in the funeral march.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, the RCMP encouraged mourners to wear red and many bystanders did as they watched the procession through the streets of Langley Wednesday afternoon.
CBC is livestreaming the event, including the full regimental procession and funeral.
Langley resident Ingrid Davies said that as the mother of a Mountie she decided to attend the procession to pay tribute to the fallen officer.
“It hits very close to home when something like this happens but we just try to stay positive and we hope his family can find some peace,” she said.
Betty Lew, whose daughter is also a Mountie, said every parent of an officer worries about their child’s safety when they are on the job, and she felt it was important to pay tribute to O’Brien.
“They serve the citizens all around. They protect us. So, we should be able to protect them.”
O’Brien was born in Ottawa and joined the RCMP in 2016. All of his service was in Ridge Meadows, where he earned an award for bravery shortly after joining the detachment.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Ridge Meadows RCMP were executing a search warrant at a home near Pinetree Way and Glen Drive in Coquitlam, a Vancouver suburb, when O’Brien was shot.
O’Brien succumbed to his injuries at the scene after receiving treatment from first responders.
B.C.’s prosecution service has approved a first-degree murder charge against 25-year-old Coquitlam resident Nicholas Bellemare, as well as one count of attempted murder with a firearm.
O’Brien came to the Mounties after a career of working with at-risk children, and was decorated early in his career for bravery after helping to rescue victims from a home invasion.
Supt. Wendy Mehat, the officer in charge at Ridge Meadows RCMP, where O’Brien spent all of his career, said after O’Brien was killed that he loved visiting schools and helping students, while calling his death senseless and heartbreaking.
Community outreach event Friday
Coquitlam RCMP have scheduled a community outreach event on Friday for residents and businesses to ask questions about safety in their neighbourhood.
“We understand that people have questions and concerns around community safety following serious incidents,” said media relations officer Cpl. Alexa Hodgins.
WATCH | CBC’s The National reports on murder charge in officer’s death:
Murder charge laid in B.C. officer’s death
Featured VideoA 25-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of B.C. RCMP Const. Rick O’Brien. O’Brien is the 10th officer to be killed in the line of duty in the last 12 months.
“This is a time for residents, community members and the public to come together, voice their concerns, ask questions and connect with resources.”
The event will take place at Glen Pine Pavilion from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Resources at the event will include victim services, community police volunteers, police officers, home and personal safety information, and Block Watch information, according to police.
With files from The Canadian Press