It’s hard to believe that Tuesday marked 10 years since the tragic deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe. It was an event that shook Albertans and the country to the core.
Const. Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann were shot while helping with a criminal investigation on the property of James Roszko near Mayerthorpe on March 3, 2005. The officers will be forever known as ‘The Fallen Four’.
The tragedy marked the worst single-day loss of life in more than a century for the RCMP. Roszko later turned the gun on himself.
The funerals of both Gordon and Myrol were in Red Deer and thousands paid their respects to the two officers who were both raised in the City.
In honour of the officers a park and memorial was built by the Fallen Four Memorial Society in Mayerthorpe. The park opened in 2008. Since then about 10,000 people visit it each year.
Yesterday, the Fallen Four Memorial Park was host to a service in memory of the slain officers. A candle light service was held and a painting of the park was unveiled as well. The painting will hang inside the building there, alongside other tributes from across Canada and from around the world.
Looking back, it was heartbreaking to see how many people were affected by such an unnecessary act. And it is something that forever changed Albertans’ feeling of security – many asked, how could this happen – especially in such a small community?
Of course we hear of horrible events like this happening around the world or even in North America, but Alberta has remained immune to this sort of violence until this tragedy. And to lose four officers in such a way, as was already mentioned was unprecedented.
Unfortunately however, this has not been the only event of its kind to happen. Last June, three officers were killed and two injured by a single gunman in Moncton. Again, Canadians were shaken to the core.
Last October, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run down and killed in Quebec and two days later Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down on Parliament Hill at the Canadian National War Memorial and in January, Const. David Wynn was killed after being shot in St. Albert. Aux. Const. Derek Bond was also injured in the attack.
This week, we remember The Fallen Four and the others who have lost their lives as they serve their communities and their countries. Hopefully, we can hold a deeper appreciation and respect for these men and women who work to preserve a sense of order, security and peace in society.