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Father-to-be and ‘snow angel’: Edmonton officers shot and killed on duty remembered

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Edmonton Police Const. Travis Jordan, left, and Const. Brett Ryan are seen in a composite image made from two undated handout photos. Jordan, 35, an 8 1/2-year veteran with the Edmonton force, and Ryan, 30, who had been with the service for 5 1/2 years, were shot and killed Thursday responding to a domestic violence call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Edmonton Police Service

By Kelly Geraldine Malone and Emily Blake

One of the police officers killed in Edmonton was about to be a father for the first time and the other was called a “snow angel” for going beyond the call of duty to help people.

Const. Brett Ryan, 30, and Const. Travis Jordan, 35, were fatally shot responding to a domestic violence call early Thursday morning.

Ryan, who had been with the Edmonton force for 5 1/2 years, is being remembered as a pillar of the community and a longtime minor hockey referee.

Darcy Carter, with the Spruce Grove Minor Hockey Association, said Ryan and his wife are expecting their first child.

“I was alongside him growing up as he grew as an official and grew into a person and a husband,” Carter said.

Ryan, who lived in Spruce Grove just west of Edmonton, was always willing to give back, helping younger hockey officials develop their skills, Carter said. The officer was also active in the slow pitch community.

Ryan was a paramedic before he became a police officer, Carter said, adding that his friend was passionate about his work and his duty to serve the community.

“That’s something that I’ll never forget … just his face lighting up when he talked about his job,” Carter said.

The Alberta Paramedic Association said Ryan served as a paramedic with Medavie Health Services in Saddle Lake, Alta., from 2012 to 2015.

“Throughout his career, helping others was the focus of all his roles,” a statement from the association reads.

Ryan is survived by his wife Ashley Ryan, who is a paramedic, it said.

Garett Ryan wrote on Twitter that he’s proud of his brother.

“Words cannot describe how much I love my big little brother,” he wrote. “I am so proud of him, his accomplishments, and the man he has become. I’ll miss him always.”

Jordan had been with the Edmonton force for 8 1/2 years.

He grew up in Nova Scotia and his family still lives in the province. Nova Scotia RCMP organized a memorial procession, which also included numerous officers from the Kentville Police Service and military police, to drive through Coldbrook to honour the officer and his family Thursday afternoon.

Jessica Shmigelsky remembered Jordan as being calm and kind when she really needed to see the goodness in people. She said his family gave her permission to speak about the experience.

Shmigelsky’s day was going terribly when she met Jordan in Edmonton 2020. There had been a heavy spring snowfall, her snow brush was broken and she was having a difficult day at work.

Jordan pulled her over for having too much snow on her vehicle, she said, but instead of giving her a ticket he grabbed his own snow brush and proceeded to clean off her car.

“It was a very lighthearted interaction. It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be,” she said, adding it was like talking with a big brother.

She didn’t get the officer’s name at the time but posted about the encounter online, where he quickly was nicknamed a “snow angel.” Jordan’s sister in Nova Scotia saw the post and connected the officer and Shmigelsky.

Jordan asked to meet up and Shmigelsky and gave her a new snow brush. It’s the one she still uses.

“He did his job and he did more than what his job really entailed.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2023.

 

 

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Alberta

‘Always remember’: Funeral held for 2 Edmonton police officers killed on duty

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A sheriff salutes during a procession for Edmonton Police Service Const. Travis Jordan and Const. Brett Ryan in Edmonton on Monday, March 27, 2023. The officers were killed in the line of duty on March 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

By Ritika Dubey and Angela Amato in Edmonton

Two police officers killed in the line of duty were honoured Monday at a regimental funeral with tears and tales of off-key crooning, birdies and beers, laughs and contagious joy.

Thousands of officers gathered with family members to say a formal goodbye to Edmonton police Const. Travis Jordan, 35, and Const. Brett Ryan, 30, at Rogers Place arena, the home area of the Edmonton Oilers.

“I’ll remember his smile, his wheezy laugh — we’ve been told we laugh the exact same way. I will always remember how excited he was when Brett found out he was going to be a dad, and I know that is one memory I will never lose,” Ryan’s pregnant widow, Ashley, said in her eulogy.

“You will live on in baby Ryan and they will know every last detail about how special you were to so many people and, most importantly, to me. I love you forever. I’ll miss you always.”

Jordan’s widow, Annie, stood silently beside police chaplain Roy Langer as he read her parting words.

“We didn’t have one hard day in 11 years,” she said through Langer.

“The world was really ours. We had already started leaving our mark in some many different places.”

The officers were shot at multiple times while responding to a family dispute on March 16. Police said the shooter, 16, then shot and wounded his mother during a struggle for the gun, before shooting and killing himself.

Jordan was remembered by colleagues as a valued officer of almost nine years, working to join the tactical squad. He came to Edmonton from Nova Scotia so he could realize his childhood dream of becoming an officer.

Sgt. Perry Getzinger and Sgt. Chris Gallahger remembered Jordan, or T.J., as a “great dog dad” to canines Teddy and B.J.

They recalled an excellent, ultracompetitive golfer who will live on in happy memories of lost balls and fairway trash talk from their “Birdies and Beers” golf trip.

Brodie Sampson, a childhood friend, said people who knew Jordan “were able to experience (his) kindness, contagious joy and unparalleled positivity even in the face of hardships.”

“(It) gets us through these hard times now,” he added.

Ryan, born in Edmonton, had more than five years’ service with the force after working as a paramedic.

Ashley Ryan recalled life with the man with “a crooked little grin,” who got up in the morning to have coffee and read the news in his fuzzy slippers, “because he was such an old man at heart.”

Her husband, she said, loved skydiving, baseball and their dogs, even the one who chewed up their couch.

Garett Ryan said his older brother loved trips to Las Vegas and Mexico, eating donairs and Baconator burgers. He remembered driving around with his brother, windows down belting out Kenny Chesney country music songs.

“I often called him my big little brother because that’s how much I looked up to him.”

The caskets were brought to Rogers Place in two hearses that inched their way through the downtown from the legislature under bright sun amid chill winds. They were followed by officers from across the country.

They marched eight abreast, arms swinging amid the pipes and drums of interspersed marching bands while onlookers lined the streets. Some held up placards with painted blue hearts, others placed their right hands over their hearts.

“We’re here to support all of the first responders but in particular our son, who is a police officer with Calgary Police Services,” said Jim Funk, who attended the procession with wife, Chris.

“We feel so sad, especially for the families of the two officers, but that extends out to the whole first responder family nationwide.”

Said Chris Funk: “It’s probably the worst nightmare families can experience.”

Two caskets, each draped in a Canadian flag, were carried into the arena on the shoulders of Edmonton police pallbearers.

The service was not open to the public but was livestreamed and broadcast outdoors at the Ice Plaza next to Rogers Place.

Dozens shivered in the cold to watch, including 15-year-old Charlie Dennis, whose father is an Edmonton officer.

“It’s nice to know that there are people around that would care and would show up,” she said.

Police continue to investigate the circumstances of the shooting and have said the same gun was used days earlier at a nearby Pizza Hut, leaving a man injured.

Police had also been called to the teen shooter’s home in November, apprehending him under the Mental Health Act before taking him to hospital for an assessment.

The day of the shooting, the boy’s mother called saying she was having trouble with her son. Police said there was no indication he had a gun or that the officers were walking into a high-risk or dangerous situation.

There have been 10 officers killed in the line of duty in Edmonton.

The most recent previous death was of Const. Daniel Woodall, who was shot in 2015 trying to enter the house of a suspect wanted for criminal harassment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2023.

— With files from Dean Bennett

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Alberta

Japan to resume imports of Canadian processed beef, 20 years after mad cow disease

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OTTAWA — Japan is lifting the last of its restrictions against Canadian beef, 20 years after BSE, often called mad cow disease, devastated this country’s cattle industry. 

The federal government says Japan is reopening its doors to processed beef and beef patties from Canada.

The move puts an end to the market access barriers Japan put in place in 2003, after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was discovered in Alberta.

While Japan initially shut its border to all Canadian beef, it has been lifting restrictions in stages over the years, most recently with its 2019 decision to begin accepting Canadian beef from cattle older than 30 months of age.

The federal government says Japan is now Canada’s second-largest market for beef, with exports worth $518 million in 2022.

Around 40 countries closed their borders to Canadian beef during the height of the 2003 BSE crisis, resulting in billions of dollars in losses for the industry.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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