Hundreds attend candlelight vigil for Const. John Davidson who died protecting Abbotsford
Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil in Abbotsford on Monday to express their sorrow and gratitude for a police officer who died in the line of duty.
The vigil was held at the parking lot of the Mount Lehman Centre — the same shopping plaza where Const. John Davidson was shot and killed last Monday.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Santosh Powar, a longtime Abbotsford resident. “All you hear about is how he was such a good man. I’m sad about what happened, and how he gave his life for the community.”
A large contingent of Abbotsford police officers attended the vigil, organized by Abbotsford Community Services, in honour of their fallen comrade.
Many in the solemn crowd who came to light candles, leave flowers and write notes of condolence didn’t know him, but felt moved to come.
“It’s the least we can do,” said Mike Patterson, who lives in Vancouver and made the drive to Abbotsford with his family because, “it’s important to be here. This is a man who gave his life in the line of duty. The world is a lesser place without him.”
Christine Hemingway, a family friend of the Davidsons, spoke to the crowd on behalf of his family, who didn’t attend the vigil. Davidson was “such a great man, even when he wasn’t in uniform,” said Hemingway, who thanked the community for the outpouring of love and support.
“The public is unbelievable, how they’ve come out to support him and want to name a street after him,” Hemingway said. “The family is so appreciative of what everybody is doing.”
Davidson is survived by his wife and three adult children.
A fundraiser set up by the Abbotsford Police Union for Davidson’s family has raised more than $137,000 in five days, while a petition to change the name of Automall Drive, located across the street from the Mount Lehman Centre, to John Davidson Way, has collected close to 15,000 signatures as of Monday.
Davidson, who joined the Abbotsford Police Department in 2006 after a 12-year career with the Northumbria Police in the U.K., was the first officer on the scene last Monday responding to a report of a stolen car and shots fired. He was shot and pronounced dead in hospital.
Oscar Arfmann, a 65-year-old Alberta man, has been charged with first-degree murder.
A public celebration of life will be held for Davidson on Nov. 19 at the Abbotsford Centre. A funeral procession with uniformed law-enforcement officers will make its way from McCallum Road and McDougall Avenue, about two kilometres away, to the arena. The ceremony will start at 1 p.m.
The event will be broadcast live on TV and live-streamed online. Overflow crowds will be accommodated at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Envision Athletic Centre and Central Heights Church on 1661 McCallum Rd.
Bam Sidhu, manager of Sun Life, which occupies second-floor offices at the strip mall, hopes the vigil shows Davidson’s family and loved ones how much the community valued his sacrifice. He attended the vigil, like many others, he said, “to show his family that he has not been forgotten, and to tell him, wherever he is, ‘thank you.’”
A vigil for fallen officer John Davidson was held at Mt. Lehman Centre mall in Abbotsford Monday. Davidson was killed in the line of duty Nov. 6.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil for Const. John Davidson at Mount Lehman Centre mall in Abbotsford Monday night.