One of the police officers killed in Edmonton was about to be a father for the first time and the other was called a “snow angel” for going beyond the call of duty to help people.
Const. Brett Ryan, 30, and Const. Travis Jordan, 35, were fatally shot responding to a domestic violence call early Thursday morning.
Ryan, who had been with the Edmonton force for five and a half years, was the youngest child in his family, his mother said in a heart-wrenching post Thursday night.
“Today we lost our youngest son in the line of duty with EPS,” Laurie Ryan wrote. “No words can begin to explain how deep our sorrow and pain is today.”
Ryan was also about to become a father for the first time, as his wife is expected to give birth this summer.
“He served his community with pride and commitment. He loved his wife and unborn baby, his brothers and us, his parents,” his mom wrote.
The family extended its gratitude to all the first responders who rushed to try and save her child’s life.
“We want to thank everyone who respond and came to Brett’s aid today. The community, family and friends had one of the best taken from us way too soon.
“R.I.P my son, we’ve been blessed to have you for the past 30 years but today your loss is unbearable.”
Ryan is being remembered as a pillar of the community and a longtime minor hockey referee.
The 30-year-old lived west of Edmonton in Spruce Grove, where in his spare time, Ryan was a minor hockey official with the Spruce Grove Minor Hockey Association.
“Obviously a tough day for our referee group here in Spruce Grove,” said Ryan’s friend Darcy Carter, who said the fallen officer was a paramedic before he became a police officer, adding he was passionate about his work and his duty to serve the community.
“He was a great referee, a great friend, great person, a good husband and soon-to-be dad.”
Carter said Ryan was excited to become a dad.
“We reffed a game together in late January, and he shared that news before it was, you know, ‘official’,” Carter recalled.
“He was happy. He was excited, for sure.”
Ryan was always willing to give back, helping younger hockey officials develop their skills, Carter said. The officer was also active in the slow-pitch community.
Ryan was a paramedic before he became a police officer, Carter said, adding that his friend was passionate about his work and his duty to serve the community.
“That’s something that I’ll never forget — just his face lighting up when he talked about his job,” Carter said.
A statement from the Spruce Grove Minor Hockey Association said Ryan was a pillar within the community and will be missed by all who knew him.
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“We take this time to honour his life and the contributions he has made to the Edmonton community and beyond.”
The Alberta Paramedic Association said Ryan served as a paramedic with Medavie Health Services in Saddle Lake, Alta., from 2012 to 2015.
“Throughout his career, helping others was the focus of all his roles,” a statement from the association reads.
Ryan is survived by his wife Ashley Ryan, who is a paramedic, it said.
Sources confirm to Global News she was on shift and at the Royal Alexandra Hospital when her husband was brought in early Thursday morning.
Garett Ryan wrote on Twitter that he’s proud of his brother.
“Words cannot describe how much I love my big little brother,” he wrote.
“I am so proud of him, his accomplishments, and the man he has become. I’ll miss him always.”
Jordan had been with the Edmonton force for eight and a half years.
He grew up in Nova Scotia and his family still lives in the province.
On the same day he was killed on the job in Edmonton, Kentville RCMP, the Kentville Police Service and the Canadian Military Police paid their respects with a memorial procession, driving by his family home in the nearby community of Coldbrook, N.S.
The drive-by happened at 1:30 p.m. local time, as thick snowflakes drifted down around the procession.
“It’s a tragic day, certainly for all police and certainly all Canadians. It’s a day nobody wants to see or hear,” said Sgt. Andrew Joyce with the Nova Scotia RCMP.
“It’s something that we were all processing. You know, we were all very saddened by it all.”
Jessica Shmigelsky remembered Jordan as being calm and kind when she really needed to see the goodness in people.
She said his family gave her permission to speak about the experience.
Shmigelsky’s day was going terribly when she met Jordan in Edmonton 2020.
There had been a heavy spring snowfall, her snow brush was broken and she was having a difficult day at work.
Jordan pulled her over for having too much snow on her vehicle, she said, but instead of giving her a ticket he grabbed his own snow brush and proceeded to clean off her car.
Read more: Edmonton police officer dubbed ‘Snow Angel’ gifts snow brush to woman instead of ticketing her
“It was a very lighthearted interaction. It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be,” she said, adding it was like talking with a big brother.
She didn’t get the officer’s name at the time but posted about the encounter online, where he quickly was nicknamed a “snow angel.” Jordan’s sister in Nova Scotia saw the post and connected the officer and Shmigelsky.
Jordan asked to meet up and Shmigelsky and gave her a new snow brush. It’s the one she still uses.
“He did his job and he did more than what his job really entailed.”
She still has the snowbrush Jordan gave her.
A GoFundMe has been launched by the Edmonton Police Foundation, in partnership with the Edmonton Police Association, for the families of fallen members.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than $26,000 had been raised.
— With files from Kelly Geraldine Malone and Emily Blake, The Canadian Press