Edmonton marks 1 year since deaths of EPS officers Travis Jordan, Brett Ryan: ‘A hole in our hearts’

Click to play video: 'Edmonton marks 1 year since 2 police officers killed'
Edmonton marks 1 year since 2 police officers killed
Saturday, March 16, 2024, marks one year since constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan were killed in the line of duty. Morgan Black has more on how the EPS and the city is remembering. – Mar 15, 2024

Saturday will mark one year since two Edmonton police constables were gunned down in the line of duty. As the sombre anniversary looms, the families of the men and members of the Edmonton Police Service continue to grieve the loss of the officers, who are being remembered as heroes.

On March 16, 2023, Const. Travis Jordan, 35, and Const. Brett Ryan, 30, were shot and killed while responding to a family dispute at an apartment building near Westmount Mall.

The situation has been described as an ambush. Police Chief Dale McFee said Friday the incident and investigation have been looked at “every which way” and there was nothing the officers could have done differently to prevent the tragedy.

“There is nobody that could have prevented this. This is one of those things, our folks did their job.… They did it well,” McFee said.

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The men’s families issued statements Friday, both saying they continue to receive an outpouring of support from the EPS and the community.

“We have been deeply moved by the continued support and kindness shown to our family and Brett’s EPS family throughout this challenging year,” Ryan’s widow, Ashley Ryan, wrote on behalf of the Ryan family.

“The outpouring of love, generosity, and solidarity has touched our hearts in ways we cannot adequately express. We miss Brett every day. Though his absence resonates throughout our lives, his laughter, charisma, compassion, devotion, and fierce love for his family, friends, and colleagues are forever etched in our memories of him. Brett gave his life in service to others, and today, we wish to honour his courage, dedication, selflessness, and profound sacrifice. Like many of his brothers and sisters who don the uniform, he embodied the ethos of a true guardian.”

Jordan’s widow, Annie Jordan, wrote on behalf of their family that the support has been a “constant source of solace and hope during this challenging journey.”

“There is a hole in our hearts. Travis wasn’t just a police officer but a beacon of strength. He had a profound impact on so many lives, and his love for his family, friends, colleagues, and job was palpable in every action he took,” she wrote in part.

“His deep roots in Nova Scotia shaped him into the remarkable man he became, and his legacy will forever echo through the Alberta plains and the memories of those fortunate enough to know him. Our hearts ache with the absence of Travis, but we find solace in knowing that he found his calling and bravely stood alongside his family in blue to serve a greater purpose.”

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Click to play video: 'Thousands of officers from across Canada honour slain Edmonton police officers at regimental funeral'
Thousands of officers from across Canada honour slain Edmonton police officers at regimental funeral

Over the past year, McFee said officers have been leaning on each other “while grieving and processing their loss.” Through it all, the officers have not shied away from their duties, he added.

“Even in the darkest moments they showed up remarkably with a lot of resiliency,” McFee said.

To honour and remember Ryan and Jordan on Saturday, their names will be added to the EPS memorial book and a private service will be held by members of the EPS.

“It’s just part of our healing journey so it’s just going to be our own membership and our own people. Not open to the public,” McFee said.

“Our fallen officers will never be forgotten.… These two were great community leaders, great human beings and people that we really, really miss in our service.”

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Click to play video: 'Edmontonians line streets to honour 2 fallen police officers'
Edmontonians line streets to honour 2 fallen police officers

The situation started just before 1 a.m. on March 16, 2023, at a building at Baywood Apartments at 114th Avenue and 132nd Street.

Ryan and Jordan went inside the apartment building, approached the suite and were shot.

The shooter was a 16-year-old boy who also shot his mother. She was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries but survived. The 16-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

McFee said the boy’s mother is out of the hospital and remains on a recovery journey of her own.

“Significant scaring and things she will have to get through emotionally. I can’t imagine how tough that is on her either,” McFee said.

“I can imagine that she works through her healing journey as well.”

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The investigation revealed the gun used in the shooting was also used days earlier in a shooting at a nearby Pizza Hut.

Rich Albert suffered a traumatic brain injury after he was shot on the left side of his head on March 12, 2023, while helping with late-night pizza deliveries at the takeout restaurant.

McFee said he has spoken with Albert and wishes him and his family, as well as other employees at the Pizza Hut, “nothing but the best as they all recover from this.”

“He’s got a healing journey of his own and obviously has the scars and some of the emotional scars that go along with that. They’re going to take some time,” he said.

“These crimes have an emotional and mental drain on a lot of people that have been touched by it and I don’t think we should ever lose sight of it.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Pizza Hut shooting victim suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost his eye: Family'
Edmonton Pizza Hut shooting victim suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost his eye: Family

McFee said the motive for both shootings will likely never be known, but added the police service is always looking for ways to prevent such violence.

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“We’ll never know the reasons why. We just know that somebody doing that type of act was committed to what they were doing,” the chief said.

“If there’s steps that we can take any time we have a critical incident like this, we’ll change it.”

Speaking generally, McFee said the focus in these types of situations needs to be holding people accountable before they act.

“This individual … there was a health interaction with him, as we’ve said several times, in weeks past,” McFee said.

“Any time we have safety concerns, and we can stop that, whether it’s policing, whether it’s the justice system, whether it’s the health system, whether it’s the social service system, the education system, there’s an obligation on us to do that and I think we’re getting a lot better at that.

“If that means better information sharing between the health system and the justice system, I mean, come, on it’s 2024, let’s get on with it.”

The City of Spruce Grove announced earlier this year it will name a new community arena after Ryan, who had a love of hockey from a young age and later became a coach and mentor.

On Saturday, the High Level Bridge will be lit up to honour the constables. McFee said the police service is working on further ways to honour Jordan and Ryan within the community.


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