Al­leged Abbotsford shooter bat­tled men­tal ill­ness metro

Al­berta man Os­car Arf­mann charged with killing of­fi­cer

StarMetro Vancouver - - NEWS -

A fam­ily mem­ber of an Al­berta man charged with the first­de­gree mur­der of a Bri­tish Columbia po­lice of­fi­cer say the ac­cused had been strug­gling since los­ing his wife al­most five years ago.

In a state­ment, 65-year-old Os­car Arf­mann’s sis­ter-in-law says he “was re­ally never the same’’ af­ter his wife died in April 2013.

It says Arf­mann was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal in St. Paul, a town north­east of Ed­mon­ton, in July 2015 for a men­tal eval­u­a­tion, but he was re­leased three days later.

Arf­mann is charged in the death of Const. John Davidson in the Van­cou­ver sub­urb of Abbotsford ear­lier this week.

The 53-year-old of­fi­cer with 24 years on the job was crit­i­cally in­jured while re­spond­ing to a re­port of a pos­si­ble stolen ve­hi­cle and shots fired at mem­bers of the pub­lic.

Arf­mann’s fam­ily says it wants to ex­tend its deep­est con­do­lences to Davidson’s fam­ily and the Abbotsford Po­lice Depart­ment.

Arf­mann re­mained in hos­pi­tal on Tues­day and Bri­tish Columbia’s civil­ian agency that in­ves­ti­gates po­lice ac­tions re­sult­ing in se­ri­ous harm or death has said it’s be­lieved he was shot.

The state­ment re­leased by Arf­mann’s sis­ter-in-law on be­half of the fam­ily says Arf­mann con­tin­ued to strug­gle with men­tal health is­sues af­ter be­ing re­leased from hos­pi­tal in 2015.

“Fam­ily mem­bers had tried to seek help for him but he re­fused to go to the doc­tor,’’ the state­ment says.

Hope Arf­mann said she mar­ried Os­car when she was 18 but the mar­riage lasted less than three years be­cause he was emo­tion­ally abu­sive.

The cou­ple lived in the small ham­let of Sun­ny­brook, Alta., and also on a farm near Mil­let, where she said he would hunt small ro­dents and birds.

“The birds de­serted the area, the squir­rels, the go­phers — any­body and ev­ery­body spread the word: stay away from that area,’’ she said.

She said their split was tense and she suf­fered a med­i­cal con­di­tion that caused black­outs when she felt dis­tressed.

“I wanted to leave and he de­cided to keep me from do­ing that,’’ she ex­plained. “I had been cut­ting up a roast at the table to make him a last lunch. And he says, ‘well, you ain’t go­ing un­less I let you go, and I ain’t let­ting you go.’ And that’s all I heard. When my sen­si­bil­ity came back, there was a knife in the wall.’’

How­ever, she said the in­ci­dent had been enough to bring about a change of mind on his part. She said in no time at all, he had packed up her be­long­ings and driven her into Ed­mon­ton.

Af­ter their split, their con­tact was lim­ited, though they had a son to­gether who she later gave up for adop­tion. Hope said af­ter their di­vorce was made fi­nal by a We­taski­win court in the sum­mer of 1975, Os­car mar­ried a woman named Pa­tri­cia. “I heard by the bye that they were still like hon­ey­moon­ers af­ter 40 years,’’ she said. “I was tick­led pink. He mar­ried the right per­son the se­cond time. For some rea­son, they clicked.’’

She said Os­car took Pa­tri­cia’s death hard.

“The only thing that he re­ally loved was Pa­tri­cia,’’ she said.

Fam­ily mem­bers had tried to seek help for him but he re­fused to go to the doc­tor. State­ment from Os­car Arf­mann’s fam­ily


Os­car Arf­mann, 65, is seen in this un­dated rcMp handout photo. Fam­ily mem­bers say he ‘was re­ally never the same’ af­ter the death of his wife in 2013.

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