Officers embraced each other and wiped away tears Thursday as Edmonton’s police chief relayed details of how two constables were shot and killed at an apartment complex while responding to a domestic violence call.
“Today, the Edmonton Police Service has been marked by an unthinkable and horrific tragedy as two of our members have died in the line of duty,” Chief Dale McFee told a packed and solemn news conference at police headquarters.
A young man considered a suspect in the shootings was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, McFee said.
He identified the officers who died as Const. Travis Jordan, 35, an 8 1/2-year veteran with the Edmonton force, and Const. Brett Ryan, 30, who had been with the service for 5 1/2 years.
McFee said the officers were called shortly before 1 a.m. to a family dispute at an apartment building in northwest Edmonton, part of a large red-brick complex of three-storey walkups.
“The two patrol members went inside the building, approached the suite and were shot by a male subject,” McFee said. “All indications are they did not have a chance to discharge their firearms.”
The officers were rushed to hospital by colleagues who worked to keep them alive, said McFee. They were declared dead at hospital.
A woman was also taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she remains in serious but stable condition.
McFee said there was no remaining threat to the community.
He said the police force is devastated by the deaths of the officers. “We know their family, their friends, their EPS family and the entire community will be profoundly impacted by this incident.
“We must all be there for each other. This is a time where we lean in and lean on each other.”
McFee said supports are being offered to the officers’ families and colleagues.
The atrium where McFee spoke was packed with more than 100 officers and police staff. Members held and patted each other.
Mike Ellis, Alberta’s minister of public safety and a former police officer, was visibly shaken as he spoke at the news conference.
“Every day, police officers across Alberta put their uniforms on and they protect and serve their communities. The sudden and tragic death of these two Edmonton Police Service officers reminds us again of the dangers the police officers face on a daily basis.”
Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi also spoke.
“Every day families of the police officers send their loved ones off to duty, to work, and hope they return home safely. This did not happen today for Ryan’s and Jordan’s families.
“When you see an officer working to keep you safe, please thank them for their service.”
About a dozen police cars and a forensics truck were parked near the apartment complex. The scene was taped off and a road leading into the area was also blocked.
Police services in Calgary, Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Halifax were among those expressing condolences on social media.
“This is a tragic loss and one that is shared among law enforcement including our team. We are here to offer our support to (Edmonton police) as well during a devastating time,” Calgary deputy police chief Chad Tawfik wrote on Twitter.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith offered condolences from the provincial government.
“Alberta would not be the great province it is today without the support of the courageous men and women who patrol our streets every day to keep our communities protected,” she said in a statement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also posted a message on Twitter.
“Every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep people safe,” he wrote.
“The news that two Edmonton police officers have been killed in the line of duty reminds us of that reality. I’m sending my condolences to the officers’ loved ones and colleagues — we’re here for you.”
Thursday’s killings are the first among the Edmonton Police Service since 2015.
Const. Daniel Woodall, a hate crimes investigator, was using a battering ram to enter a home when he was shot numerous times through a door. Another officer was struck by a round that penetrated his body armour and he survived.
In 1990, Const. Ezio Faraone was shot and killed responding to an armed robbery.
—Angela Amato, The Canadian Press