NEWS
11/19/2017 13:27 EST | Updated 11/19/2017 14:21 EST

Abbotsford, B.C., police officer remembered for his kindness, humour

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The chief of the Abbotsford, B.C., police department says an oily blackness fell on the city when a shot rang out, killing Const. John Davidson almost two weeks ago.

Chief Bob Rich revealed details at a celebration of Davidson's life on Sunday about what happened on Nov. 6 when the officer confronted a man alleged to have stolen a vehicle from an auto mall two days earlier.

Rich says Davidson was the first officer on the scene when there was a report of a man firing rounds from a shotgun into a truck and then he shot at the officer.

"When that shot rang out evil won. There was an oily blackness that fell upon our city, it was awful. I cannot imagine a darker thing to have happen to us," Rich told Davidson's celebration of life.

Rich said the man was later surrounded by five Abbotsford officers who fired on the vehicle, hitting him.

"That man's evil intentions, I totally believe were to kill more of us. There was going to be a rampage in the city of Abbotsford, I don't know who would have fallen," he said. "But they stopped him at that moment and their lights shone bright at that moment."

Since then, Rich there's been an outpouring of support from fellow officers and the public.

Davidson, 53, was remembered as a man admired for his dedication to his community and his kindness to those he encountered.

His friend, Abbotsford Sgt. Jason Scott told the service that Davidson had a positive influence on his co-workers and the youth he worked with.

Scott said Davidson was good at what he did and was proud to be a husband, father and police officer.

Before the event began, thousands in the building were silent as eight of Davidson's fellow officers carried his coffin into Abbotsford Centre arena.

The officer's service belt and both his police hats from Abbotsford and Northumbria were placed atop his flag-covered coffin.

Davidson got his start in policing in Northumbria in the northeastern United Kingdom in 1993 and had worked in the Abbotsford department for 11 years.

A suspect, Alberta resident Oscar Arfmann, 65, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Davidson's death.

Davidson's police partner, Const. Renae Williams described him as a man with a sense of humour who took far longer to get coffees because staff at the coffee shop couldn't understand his thick accent.

"He could take it as well as he could dish it out and did more than his fair share of doling out playful barbs. Most of his comebacks included the line 'Well back in the U.K. we did this.' "

He had a gift of gab, was respectful and civil to the public, level-headed and believe there were lessons to be passed on with each traffic stop, she said.

"He was tough, but more than fair. That was evident by the number of people I have seen shake his hand after getting a ticket."

Davidson always pushed himself to help others, Williams added.

"Which is exactly what happened on Nov. 1, 2017," she said, weeping. "For a man who hated guns and never became comfortable carrying a gun after coming over from the U.K., he was one of the first to step in and intervene when a call of shots-fired came in."

The officer is survived by his wife, Denise, and three adult children, Dina, Faye and Drew.

Dina Davidson told the service that their father was modest and didn't mention his accomplishments. 

She said they didn't recognize the man others were describing.

"He never let us know any of that," she said, laughing.

She said he was a tough father, who loved them and held their well-being as his highest priority.

Dina Davidson thanked those who helped her father after he had been shot.

"Please forgive yourself for not being able to change his fate."