Const. RCMP. Rick O’Brien was shot and killed and two officers were wounded while he was executing a search warrant in Coquitlam, about 30 kilometers east of Vancouver, on Friday morning.
O’Brien, 51, was a decorated police officer with the Ridge Meadows detachment and recently celebrated seven years of service. He leaves behind a wife and children.
“This is an extremely difficult and tragic day,” Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, commander of the British Columbia RCMP, said at a news conference.
“Const. O’Brien led by example. He had a great sense of humor, was well respected by his peers and loved in his community,” McDonald said.
O’Brien succumbed to his injuries at the scene after receiving treatment from first responders, McDonald said.
An officer and the suspect remain in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The other officer was treated for minor injuries and released.
SEE | RCMP officer killed on duty:
The Independent Homicide Investigation Team is investigating the death of the officer and the injuries of the other two officers. The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is conducting a simultaneous investigation into the police actions.
The IIO said Ridge Meadows RCMP were executing a search warrant at a home near Pinetree Way and Glen Drive in the Vancouver suburb when the incident occurred.
“While there, the officers present became involved in an altercation with a man which resulted in several officers being injured and the man being shot,” the statement read.
A large deployment of first responders, including police in tactical gear, was seen in the 2900 block of Glen Drive around 11 a.m. Pacific Time.
Witness Carley Hodges said that as police began arriving at the scene she saw an officer limping and bleeding from his leg.
“I had a tourniquet. They took someone away in an ambulance and they were doing chest compressions. And they took someone away handcuffed and in their underwear. And then [there were] police coming with riot shields, battering rams and rifles,” Hodges said.
McDonald said the RCMP had sent its deepest condolences to O’Brien’s family.
“The RCMP family is devastated,” McDonald said in a news release. “We are just days away from the BC Law Enforcement Memorial in Victoria that honors our fallen.”
O’Brien was born in Ottawa and joined the RCMP in 2016. His entire service was at Ridge Meadows, where he earned an award for bravery shortly after joining the detachment.
Wendy Mehat, superintendent in charge of the Ridge Meadows detachment, described O’Brien as an exceptional and hard-working officer.
He said O’Brien loved visiting schools and supporting his detachment through drives and sporting events.
“Rick’s loss will be deeply felt by his family, colleagues and the community,” Mehat said.
“His death is senseless and heartbreaking. He simply went to work today and was killed in the line of duty and keeping his community safe.”
A funeral procession for O’Brien left the crime scene in Coquitlam Friday night, traveled through Maple Ridge and into Abbotsford.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart called it a tragic and horrible day.
“We are tremendously sorry for this senseless loss,” Stewart said. “Our hearts go out to the family, friends, co-workers and colleagues of an officer who went to work this morning hoping to help, and whose life and career were cut short.”
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth offered his condolences at a news conference on Friday.
“Const. O’Brien was a person dedicated to protecting the public and our communities,” Minister Farnworth said.
“A person with family, friends, loved ones, colleagues, hopes and dreams, who have been tragically cut short in a senseless violent act.”