EDMONTON — Members of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) exchanged hugs and held back tears during a press conference Thursday as they mourn the loss of two officers shot and killed in the line of duty.
Multiple media outlets reported a heavy police presence in the Inglewood and Woodcroft neighbourhoods of Edmonton, with most of the activity focused around Baywood Apartments near 114 Avenue and 132 Street.
Dale McFee, chief of the Edmonton Police Service, told reporters Thursday that two officers responded at around 12:47 a.m. to an alleged family dispute in a nearby apartment building.
“The two patrol members went inside the building, approached the suite and were shot by a male subject,” he said, adding that neither officer had a chance to fire their weapons.
“The two members were rushed to the hospital by our own members who worked valiantly to save their lives en route. Unfortunately, they were both declared deceased at the hospital.”
McFee identified the officers as 35-year-old Const. Travis Jordan and 30-year-old Const. Brett Ryan. Jordan spent eight-and-a-half years with the Edmonton police, while Ryan served five-and-a-half years.
Holding back tears, McFee called the situation an “unthinkable and horrific tragedy.”
“Constables Jordan and Ryan were valued members of our EPS family and they worked side by side with us every day in service to our community, and I can’t tell you how devastated we are [by] their loss,” he said.
McFee said the man who shot Jordan and Ryan has also died as a result of what police believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He added first responders brought a woman related to the man to a local hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries.
She remains in serious, but stable condition, he said.
Mike Ellis, Alberta’s minister of public safety and emergency services, told reporters that he and the Alberta government extend their deepest sympathies to families, friends and all of those who knew Jordan and Ryan.
As a former police officer, he said the shooting “hits close to home” and it acts as a reminder of how dangerous it can be working as a police officer.
“To all of my brothers and sisters out there, my heart is with you,” said Ellis.
He hopes the public will provide support and space to family, friends and colleagues while they process Thursday’s events.
“There are really no words that I can express other than deep sympathy and the loss that every one of us here are experiencing,” said Ellis.
Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi shared a similar message.
He said police officers put their lives at risk every day to serve their communities, and their families hope they return home safely.
“This did not happen today,” he said.
Sohi said many officers are back on duty serving their communities — all while they try to understand what led to “this unthinkable tragedy.” He encouraged Edmontonians to thank on-duty officers for their service if they see them.
Tributes and condolences continue to pour in via social media from across the country.
“Every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep people safe. The news that two Edmonton police officers have been killed in the line of duty reminds us of that reality,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a post on Twitter.
“I’m sending my condolences to the officers’ loved ones and colleagues – we’re here for you.”
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith also took to Twitter to say her government is extending its support to the Edmonton Police Service. She said the province will honour Ryan and Jordan at the Alberta legislature by flying its flags at half-mast.
“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,” said Smith.
McFee said the investigation remains underway and asked for the public’s patience and understanding, while also assuring there is no further risk to the community stemming from this incident.
He also said the force plans to honour Jordan and Ryan in the coming days.
McFee said he appreciates the support Edmonton police are receiving from across Alberta and Canada. As his officers continue to go on patrol, he feels grateful for their “ongoing commitment in the face of tragedy.”
“This is what police officers do every day, even when they understand the risks that they face. This is unthinkable. It’s unimaginable. It’s horrific,” said McFee.
“It’s a tragedy, but we will move on — because that’s what we do.”