ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — A police officer who died in the line of duty in British Columbia was remembered Tuesday for his bravery in protecting others and his community commitment in the work he did with children.
Abbotsford police say Const. John Davidson, who was 53, had been an officer for 24 years and spent the last 11 years with the department in the Lower Mainland.
"John Davidson is my hero, he's this community's hero," Chief Bob Rich told a news conference.
Davidson followed his training in dealing with an active shooter, giving his life on Monday to protect the public, Rich said.
"We train our police officers, we ask our police officers that when somebody is putting people's lives in danger, when there is an active shooter, we no longer wait for cover, we no longer set up teams, the first person in goes," he said. "John Davidson was the first person in, and away he went, and he died protecting you and me."
Oscar Arfmann has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Davidson's death after an exchange of gunfire with police who were responding to a report of a possible stolen vehicle. The charge is included in a court document, but it does not list an address for Arfmann.
After the shooting, police said they arrested a man from Alberta who is in his 60s.
John Davidson is my hero, he's this community's hero.
Davidson began his career in the United Kingdom in 1993 working for the police in Northumbria before moving to British Columbia in 2006.
He is survived by his wife and three adult children.
Davidson worked in the patrol, youth squad and traffic sections in Abbotsford and was active in the community, cycling in September in the Tour de Valley Cops for Cancer ride. His fundraising page said the native of Scotland loved soccer and rugby, keeping fit and being outdoors.
Rich described how Davidson spearheaded a crash prevention program where he spoke to high school students alongside a girl who had lost a friend in a car accident and discussed how graduating classes could organize their end-of-year celebrations to prevent impaired driving.
He said the last time he shook Davidson's hand was in September after the ride around the Fraser Valley for youth cancer research.
"We have lost John and nothing can change that. John died doing what we asked him to do," said Rich, speaking in front of the Abbotsford police headquarters where a wall of flowers, candles and stuffed animals had grown outside the front entrance.
"We honour John by looking after his family, we honour John by looking after each other and we honour John by protecting this community and that's what we're going to do."
Mayor Henry Braun said the community is in disbelief and people have lots of questions but the first priority is to support the fallen officer's family.
"We just want to express our heartfelt sorrow to the family. We all have heavy hearts but they are carrying a much bigger burden than we are," he said.
Davidson had an impact on students in the community thanks to his work as a school liaison officer, Braun added.
John died doing what we asked him to do.
"There's going to be some schools, some kids, when they find out who this is who are going to be grieving as well. So we need to surround our kids as well because they'll have a tough time grappling with this, because he was greatly, greatly loved in our schools."
On Monday, Rich said officers were called about a possible stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a shopping complex at about 11:30 a.m. Monday.
The caller hemmed in the suspect's vehicle while waiting for police to arrive, Rich said. The suspect emerged from the vehicle and began shooting at the caller and others, he said.
When police officers arrived, they attempted to arrest the suspect, who fled in the vehicle.
Police officers pursued him to an intersection where he was apprehended and taken to hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The civilian agency that investigates police actions resulting in serious harm or death says it's believed the suspect was shot.
The B.C. Law Enforcement Memorial lists only one other Abbotsford member in its online registry of officers who died in the line of duty. Const. John Goyer died in 2006 from complications sustained while responding to a call involving a domestic dispute five years earlier.
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