A Mountie shot down in the line of duty Friday, RCMP Const. Rick O’Brien, lived in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood, where he and his wife were raising their family while he worked at the Ridge Meadows detachment.
At Langley Township council’s Monday afternoon, Sept. 25, meeting, Councillor Barb Martens, a retired Vancouver Police officer, was to deliver a tribute, followed by a moment of silence for O’Brien, 51, who died Sept. 22, after he was shot during a Coquitlam confrontation.
In her written remarks, provided to the Langley Advance Times prior to the meeting, Martens referred to O’Brien “as a loving husband and father, a standout community member, an esteemed colleague described as brave, kind and generous, and a decorated hero.”
Saying “it goes without saying when police officers get up in the morning or in the evening and go to work, they expect to come home,” Martens noted that in the last year, 13 officers across the country have died in the line of duty.
“Const. Rick O’Brien, thank you for your service,” Martens said.
“Rest easy. Your law enforcement family will take it from here. To your family, friends, and colleagues, and those here in your home community, we extend our heartfelt condolences on your sudden and grave loss, and we stand with you in your grief.”
O’Brien, a long-time supporter of the Langley Rams football team, was described as “an amazing and great man” by close friend Dana Matheson, president of the team.
When the Rams made it to the Canadian Bowl in 2019, it was O’Brien who carried out the trophy and presented it to the Saskatoon Hilltops, Matheson recalled.
“He will be deeply missed by the Langley Rams organization,” Matheson said.
“We’re going to take five minutes before this Saturday’s game (Sept. 30 at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley) to honour him, prior to kickoff.”
O’Brien, born in Ottawa, joined the RCMP in 2016 and had just celebrated his seventh year of service, all of it at the Ridge Meadows detachment as a frontline officer and in community policing.
On Sept. 22, several Ridge Meadows RCMP officers were executing a warrant at a Coquitlam residence – as part of an ongoing drug investigation – when there was an altercation with a man which resulted in Const. O’Brien being fatally shot.
A second Ridge Meadows officer was shot as well, with a third suffering non-firearm-related injuries.
Both wounded officers were transported to the hospital and have since been released to continue their recovery at their respective homes.
The suspect, who has now been identified as 25-year-old Coquitlam resident Nicholas Bellemare, faces charges of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.