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'Profound grief': Calgarians mourn the loss of 2 slain Edmonton police officers

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Calgarians are expressing their deep sadness and sorrow over the loss of two Edmonton police officers killed in the line of duty on Thursday.

The Edmonton Police Service says the officers, 35-year-old Const. Travis Jordan and 30-year-old Const. Brett Ryan, were called to a domestic dispute at an apartment building near 114 Avenue and 132 Street just before 1 a.m.

"Upon arrival, the two patrol members went inside the building, approached the suite, and were shot by a male subject," said Edmonton police chief Dale McFee.

The male suspect is also dead from what investigators believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

One person – a female who is related to the suspect – is in hospital with life-threatening injuries, but was in stable condition as of 10 a.m. when Edmonton's police chief spoke about the incident for the first time.

The Calgary Police Service says its members are mourning the tragic loss.

"We share in the profound grief and loss of Edmonton Police Service Constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan," reads the statement. "These officers made the ultimate sacrifice in serving their community."

"Line of duty deaths have a profound impact on all police officers across Canada and we grieve alongside the EPS. Policing families are very close and this is especially true of our relationship with EPS. We have offered our support to EPS during this difficult time, and in the days and weeks to follow."

The flags at the Calgary Police Service headquarters have been lowered and members are permitted to wear memorial pins in a show of support.

"On behalf of the CPS, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends and colleagues."

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek says members of the police service put their lives at risk each time they respond to a call.

"I am grateful for their service, as we mourn this tragedy," she tweeted.

In a statement, city manager David Duckworth says the thoughts of City of Calgary employees are with first responders everywhere.

"I want to extend my most sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the two Edmonton Police Service members, Const. Travis Jordan and Const. Brett Ryan, who tragically lost their lives today in the line of duty."

The flags in front of City Hall have been lowered to honour the officers.

John Orr, the president of the Calgary Police Association, calls the deaths "devastating."

"On behalf of the members of the Calgary Police Association, our thoughts are with the families of the fallen officers," he said in a tweet.

Alberta RCMP are also expressing their grief.

"Our thoughts are with our partners at the Edmonton Police Service during this very difficult time," said spokesperson Cpl. Gina Slaney in a statement.

The Alberta Federation of Police Associations said its entire membership is in mourning.

"This is a tragic loss and a difficult day," the association said in a statement.

"Police officers do this job to help and assist the community and our citizens. It is a dangerous job. Our hearts, deepest condolences and sympathies are with the families of Const. Brett Ryan and Const. Travis Jordan.

"Incidents like this are happening far too often. It is truly horrific and tragic."

Flags can be seen lowered at a Calgary Police Service headquarters on 47 Street N.E. on March 16, 2023, following the death of two police officers in Edmonton. Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis also expressed their sympathies, saying in a statement that they are extending their deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Jordan and Ryan.

“Every day, police officers across Alberta put on their uniforms to step up to protect and serve our communities. The sudden and tragic deaths of these two Edmonton Police Service officers remind us again of the dangers police officers constantly face to ensure the safety of Albertans," reads the statement.

“Alberta’s government supports our police services to ensure they can perform their duties to keep our communities safe. 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."

SGT. ANDREW HARNETT'S BROTHER EXPRESSES HIS ' IMMENSE SADNESS'

A montage of photos of Sgt. Andrew Harnett. (Contributed)Jason Harnett spoke to CTV News on Thursday morning, saying his heart was still racing.

His brother Sgt. Andrew Harnett was killed in the line of duty in Calgary back in 2020 during a traffic stop, and Jason says Thursday's tragedy has caused a lot of difficult feeling to resurface.

"Right now, they're just going through immense shock. I mean, that's certainly what our family went through," Jason said. "Their lives have changed significantly, starting today."

He says the death of on-duty officers is becoming "far too common" in Canada.

"Police officers have families, they have lives, and they're taking all of that away from those families and these officers forever," Jason said.

"(Criminals are) just looking at them as… they're not looking at them as human beings, and that's a real tragic circumstance." 

Jason Harnett, Sgt. Andrew Harnett's brother, speaks to CTV News on Thursday, March 16, 2023. Jason expressed his "immense sadness" for the Edmonton Police Service, The City of Edmonton and the families, friends and colleagues of the fallen officers.

"And of course, I'm thinking about those officers who have lost their life doing what they love to do," he said.

"They're walking into a lot of unknown situations every day and putting their lives at risk to save others, to protect others."

Jason said the two fallen officers were just hoping to help someone out.

"It's really sad that it had to come to this state.

"I hope that the families of Const. Jordan and Const. Ryan, in the days to come, in the years to come, feel that support from the police community, because they're going to need it."

MORE SUPPORTS NEEDED TO COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: CRIMINOLOGIST

The deaths of Const. Jordan and Const. Ryan mean 13 Canadian police officers have been killed in the line of duty since 2019, according to the Canadian Police Association.

Statistics Canada's analysis of police deaths up until 2009 shows that 'responding to a domestic dispute' is the second deadliest set of circumstances for police officers.

The only risker activity is investigating robberies.

Mount Royal University professor of justice and criminologist Kelly Sundberg says these statistics reaffirm the danger that police officers face each and every day.

"These calls relating to domestic violence often involve drugs or alcohol, and the sad reality is that when the officers go to address these calls, they have to walk into the middle of a violent incident that's unfolding and bring peace to that," he said.

"This reinforces the importance of governments and communities to address domestic violence and to understand the role police play in addressing it by having programs and efforts in place to address them in the first place."

Sundberg sent his deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims as well as the entire Edmonton Police Service.

"This is just so absolutely heartbreaking," he said.

- With files from Mark Villani

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