CONSTABLE DAVID ROSS, 32
CONSTABLE DOUGLAS LARCHE, 40
CONSTABLE FABRICE GÉVAUDAN, 45
CONSTABLE DAVID ROSS KEPT HIS SAFETY VEST, a generator and survival equipment in his car in case he ever ran into someone who needed help.
It came as no surprise, then, that when a call came out across the radio last Wednesday that a gunman was loose in his neighbourhood, Constable Ross dropped everything, leaving the garage door open and barbecue lid up as he ran to the scene.
Even off the clock, he’d stop at every accident he saw, staying at the scene until on-duty officials arrived to make sure everyone was fine.
“That the barbecue was still open says everything about who Dave was,” his brother-in-law Adrian Van Der Ploeg said Tuesday, reading a eulogy prepared by Constable Ross’s pregnant widow, Rachael.
His response to the call showed he believed good can triumph over evil, his brother-in-law said. Constable Ross also preferred kindness to prevail over misfortune. Even off the clock, he’d stop at every accident he saw, staying at the scene until on-duty officials arrived to make sure everyone was fine. Mr. Van Der Ploeg recounted one trip the officer took home from Quebec with family in a snowstorm, pulling over to check on every car he saw in the ditch. “The ride from Quebec normally takes eight hours,” his brother-in-law said, “but in a snowstorm with Dave, the journey would take all week.”
He’d wanted to be a dog handler since his first day on the force. The officer not only landed a lucrative spot to train for the role – there are usually hundreds wait-listed – he finished training in an astonishingly short two years, Mr. Van Der Ploeg said.
Rachael Vander Ploeg, the widow of Constable David Ross, accepts his hat and flag. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
The officer counted his blessings and made no secrets about the joy he found in life, always finding reasons to laugh, smile and persevere. He was a man who’d celebrate a friend’s hunting bounty as much as his own, a man who sneaked a SpongeBob SquarePants pillow into his RCMP training, a man who still, at 32, took pleasure in puddle jumping.
He’d also speak the world of his wife to anyone who’d listen. And he had a deep-seated sense of fatherhood, hoping to pass on his joy and passion to his young son, Austin.
That passion is already deeply missed by Constable Ross’s family, Mr. Van Der Ploeg said. “Few people in this world have such genuine care and concern for their fellow man.”
ON JUNE 1, CONSTABLE DOUGLAS LARCHE CELEBRATED his 12 years of marriage with his wife, Nadine, at their three daughters’ year-end dance recital.
The couple finally got a chance to go out to celebrate properly the following Tuesday, two nights later. And on Wednesday, proud of the new house that he and Nadine had just bought, he spent the morning getting ahead on the landscaping. When she stopped by on her lunch hour, he excitedly showed her everything he’d done.
“Never in my worst nightmare did I envision a stitch in time where I would be the one to give his eulogy.”
It would be the last time he’d get to work on his lawn. A few hours later, he was shot and killed. Constable Larche’s older brother Daniel, a master seaman with the Canadian Navy, delivered his eulogy Tuesday in Moncton, sharing stories from his life.
They were tightly-knit growing up. “He was always chasing me around with a hockey stick or a baseball bat, telling me what he would do if he got close,” Daniel Larche said. “Lots of brotherly love.”
After high school, the brothers “created our own lives and careers in different uniforms,” but remained the best of friends.
“Never in my worst nightmare,” he said, “did I envision a stitch in time where I would be the one to give his eulogy.”
He remembered Constable Larche as a proud father who would do anything for his three daughters, Mia, Laura and Alexa. “All daughters have their dads wrapped around their little fingers, and Doug was no exception,” Daniel Larche said.
Nadine Marche, the widow of Constable Douglas Larche, hugs RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
The officer cherished making them their favourite supper, playing hockey and baseball with them in the street and taking them to dance class and swimming lessons at the Dieppe Aquatic and Sports Centre.
Constable Larche was an avid runner, too, and his daughters would watch him race. They’d join races on their own, too, his brother said, because “they wanted to be like Daddy.”
He and Nadine got a dog, Ziggy, shortly after they wed. As three daughters came along, Constable Larche realized Ziggy was his only male companion at home. So, Daniel Larche said, “Doug enjoyed taking him out for little walks around the neighbourhood to get a little man time.”
As Daniel Larche recently got ready to have children of his own, he sought advice from his brother. He said he had hoped to seek that advice out for the rest of his life, even 50 years from now, as they became grumpy old men together.
ON THE DAY OF CONSTABLE FABRICE GÉVAUDAN’S WEDDING in 2013, he found himself talking with his spiritual adviser about a favourite hobby: diving.
To reach the depths you want, he told his adviser, Geoffrey McLatchie, it’s absolutely crucial to be in the moment.
“He told me it was vital to focus in on the now, and not to get distracted from the task at hand,” Mr. McLatchie said in Moncton on Tuesday. “Fabrice totally understood the meaning of living in the now.”
“Fabrice made a difference, because he had joy in his heart because he lived a heart-centred life, where love is the main ingredient.”
Constable Gévaudan died doing something else he loved last week, Mr. McLatchie told a crowd of 7,000 and a nation of onlookers Tuesday as he delivered the Moncton RCMP officer’s eulogy.
“Fabrice gave all of himself every moment, every hour, every day of his life,” Mr. McLatchie said. “Fabrice made a difference, because he had joy in his heart because he lived a heart-centred life, where love is the main ingredient.”
He showed his love to friends and family, turning up at Mr. McLatchie’s home at 5 a.m. recently to wish the adviser’s wife, Carol, a safe trip to Vancouver. “We hugged, not knowing that this was going to be the very last time that I would have the pleasure of his company on the Earth plane.”
His family – both his wife, Angela, and his stepdaughter, Emma – were the chief recipients of that love. He and Emma would cook special weekend breakfasts for Angela, whom Mr. McLatchie called Constable Gévaudan’s “twin flame.”
Angela, the widow of Constable Fabrice Gévaudan, accepts her husband’s hat and flag. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
That kind of relationship, he said, begins well before two people meet, when “two souls were joined together, and have come back into the Earth plane and joined again as two people who have a dynamic, passionate, exciting and – for the most part – an everlasting and exceedingly intense relationship.”
Constable Gévaudan had a second family in the RCMP, cherishing each day he went to work, because he loved “to be a part of the community, to be a protector to the community.”
Constable Gévaudan died being a protector, Mr McLatchie said. Though the timing was too soon, “that was the way that Fabrice wanted to leave the Earth plane, and he got his wish.”