Winnipeg police lined Portage Avenue with cruiser cars outside of the Manitoba RCMP headquarters Saturday in a display of solidarity after RCMP Const. Allan Poapst was killed in a two-vehicle crash Friday evening.
But it wasn’t just Winnipeg police showing support for the colleagues and loved ones of the 49-year-old father of three who died just five days shy of completing 13 years of duty.
Manitoba institutions spoke out, offering condolences for the RCMP and Poapst’s family. Police departments and unions nationwide offered solidarity to Manitoba RCMP.
“It hits everyone hard who’s part of this profession,” said Winnipeg Police Service Const. Rob Carver, noting he’s seen support from police across the continent.
“We want to make sure that everybody there and RCMP officers, not only in Manitoba but across the country, know that our hearts go out to them. That could be one of our officers next time — they would do the same thing.”
Poapst’s friends are mourning his loss as well. Musician Brent Fitz, now known for touring internationally with artists like Slash, grew up in Winnipeg with Poapst and said he stayed in close contact with his old friend, talking to him on the phone as recently as Friday.
“Just over the last several years, going to Winnipeg, every time we do a gig, I always try to get to see my good friend Allan,” he said.
“Even more sad is we had spoken Friday morning, because I was looking forward to coming home just after Christmas because I have some shows with my band Toque. We were making a plan to hook up and he was coming to hang after the shows.”
Fitz said he last saw Poapst at the Grey Cup in Calgary, where they celebrated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ victory together, and Poapst hand-delivered a Bombers jersey for Fitz to wear on stage.
“He’s gone, just like that. It’s so tragic… I just feel so numb right now. There’s just so many people feeling the loss of such an amazing dude. It’s just tragic how things happen in an instant.”
Manitoban politicians offered support too.
Premier Brian Pallister and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman tweeted their condolences and gratitude to Poapst and RCMP for their service.