Family and friends of two police officers who were shot and killed while responding to a family dispute gathered in downtown Edmonton Monday to say goodbye to their loved ones.
Thousands of police officers, first responders and military members joined them to salute their fallen colleagues during a procession from the Alberta Legislature to Rogers Place, and at a regimental funeral that followed.
Constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan of the Edmonton Police Service died on March 16 after they were ambushed by a 16-year-old boy at an apartment complex in west Edmonton, investigators said.
“You are the most generous, selfless and loving person I know. It’s been the biggest honour, being your wife,” Annie Jordan wrote in a eulogy read on her behalf.
Chaplain Roy Langer delivers a eulogy for Travis Jordan on behalf of his wife, Annie Jordan.
“I will always remember how we first met. Being on the same call together, him slipping on ice in front of me, literally falling head over heels. It was instant for us both,” said Ashley Ryan, a paramedic.
Jordan, 35, originally from Nova Scotia, served with EPS for 8 1/2 years. He and his wife, Annie, had two dogs,Teddy and BJ.
He was also an avid athlete who loved golf, hockey and soccer. Jordan also volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
“He was the epitome of integrity. Travis was dubbed the ‘Snow Angel of Edmonton,’ and this is who Travis always was, even when no one was looking. Even when no one was taking pictures or writing articles. He did it because that’s who he was,” said friend Brody Sampson.
“Everyone should have a Travis in their lives. To encourage you, to laugh with you, to love you, to celebrate with you during life’s greatest moments and to cry with you through its hardships.”
Ryan, 30, grew up in Fox Creek and Spruce Grove, Alta., and married Ashley in 2015. She is pregnant with their first child.
He worked as a paramedic before becoming a police officer. Ryan loved golfing, fishing, hunting and spending time with friends. He was also involved in minor hockey.
“My sweet husband: We thought we had an eternity ahead of us. The 10 years we had together will have to suffice but the everlasting love you have for us is evermore,” Ashley said.
“I know you have already met our baby and you will forever be their angel. You will live on in baby Ryan and they will know every last detail about how special you were to so many people, and most importantly to me.”
Ashley Ryan gives a eulogy for Brett Ryan.
Thousands of officers – many dressed in EPS dress blue and RCMP Red Serge – gathered on the legislature grounds ahead of the procession.
They surrounded the Pillar of Strength, a torch monument that burns on the south grounds above the names of Alberta officers killed in the line of duty since 1876.
Local police were joined by officers from dozens of services across Alberta, Canada and New York state.
The procession left the legislature grounds at 11:45 a.m. and made the two-kilometre journey to Rogers Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers.
It included marching officers as well as others on horses, bicycles and motorcycles. The procession was mostly silent, aside from pipes, drums and the footsteps of officers marching in unison.
The roads were shut down and blocked off as the steady stream of police, stretching several city blocks, made its way north and east to the arena.
Edmonton Police Service officers participate in the procession for Constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan. Edmonton Police Service officers march through downtown Edmonton in the procession for Constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan.
Members of the public lined the procession route as two black hearses, flanked by marching officers, carried the caskets to the funeral.
On 104 Avenue, the procession passed under two Edmonton Fire Rescue Services ladder trucks flying giant Canadian flags.
The procession concluded by passing the family, who were gathered on the south side of Rogers Place.
“The processional march is done as a visual representation of support that exists for the officer and to publicly display the respect for the ultimate sacrifice they made,” an EPS briefing stated.
Inside the arena, as attendees took their seats, some of the officers’ favourite songs played, including Highway of Heroes by The Trews for Jordan and Fishing in the Dark by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for Ryan.
The caskets, draped in Canadian flags, were carried to the front where a forage cap, medals and a badge were placed on top of each.
The service began with the singing of O Canada by the EPS Chorus, followed by a prayer from City of Edmonton chaplain John Dowds.
Edmonton Police Association president Curtis Hoople and Lt. Gov. Salma Lakhani both delivered a tribute to the officers.
“It’s hard to accept and it creates difficult emotions to heal,” Sgt. Hoople said.
“To the Jordan and Ryan families: The entire police family here today and worldwide mourns with you and is deeply sorry for your loss. We all want you to know they were loved, respected, admired and damn great cops.”
Amazing Grace is played at the regimental funeral for Constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan.The regimental funeral for Constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan.
“Please know that you are not alone. Your fellow Edmontonians, Albertans and Canadians and people from around the world stand by you today,” said Lakhani.
“The tragic deaths of these two brave men was a harsh reminder to us all of the very real risks that our heroes in uniform face in order to keep us safe.”
Family and friends then spoke, shedding tears during three eulogies for Jordan and two for Ryan.
“TJ strived to be the best he could in everything that he attempted and he never did give up. Three nights ago, Annie saw the northern lights for the first time,” Sgt. Chris Gallagher said of Jordan.
“[She] and TJ had talked about watching the northern lights but it was something they had never done together. They were the brightest they’ve been in six years.”
“I often called Brett my big-little-brother, because that’s how much I looked up to him,” Garett Ryan said. “I love my little brother so much, his accomplishments and the man he became.”
Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee then saluted both the strength of his officers and the outpouring of support from Edmontonians and people around the world.
“It’s an incredible display of courage, of perseverance, resilience, equal to the men we honour today,” he said.
“We have not faltered, not for a moment, since we heard the news that we never, ever want to hear.”
Music was a big part of the ceremony as Amazing Grace, Last Post, Lament and Reveille were all played.
There was a moment of silence and “words of support and benediction” from EPS Chaplain Roy Langer.
McFee presented flags to the families and officers from the Calgary Police Service gave a 21-gun salute.
“You will not be forgotten. Rest in peace,” McFee said.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Alex Antoneshyn, Adam Lachacz and Karyn Mulcahy.