An RCMP officer who was among the 22 people killed in the 2020 mass shootings in Nova Scotia is commemorated today at a Regimental Memorial Service in Halifax.
const. Heidi Stevenson’s memorial service was delayed by RCMP due to COVID-19 restrictions, although a family funeral was held on April 24, 2020, five days after the 1 p.m. rampage.
The service will take place at Cole Harbor Place and the ceremony is not open to the public, but the RCMP say citizens are encouraged to gather along a processional route.
A public inquiry into the mass shooting said the veteran officer was driving quickly to support an injured colleague on April 19, 2020, when the fatal encounter happened at a highway interchange about 60 kilometers north of Halifax.
The 48-year-old officer was murdered in a gunfight with the killer, who jumped a lane of traffic in his replica police cruiser in order to drive the wrong way down a ramp and crash into the Stevenson’s cruiser.
Public hearing documents say bullet fragments from Stevenson’s gun ‘likely’ hit the killer’s head and – around 35 minutes later – blood on his forehead warned an officer who shot and killed the gunman in A gas station.
The inquest also noted that Stevenson called at 8:44 a.m. that morning to let the public know the killer was driving a replica RCMP vehicle. His request never received a response.
Police say Stevenson grew up in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and attended college in Nova Scotia. The mother-of-two was in the RCMP for 23 years, developing expertise in drug recognition, general policing and communications. She was also part of the RCMP Musical Ride.
The RCMP described her as a highly competent officer and someone who offered a gentle smile when others “needed it most”.
In a statement provided to the inquest, the Stevenson family said community support was helpful after his murder. “There were months of meals provided and seeing the Nova Scotia Strong stickers on everyone’s car meant so much. The Prime Minister’s phone call was very personal,” the family said in their statement.
The memorial service will be broadcast live and Commissioner Brenda Lucki is expected to attend.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 29, 2022.
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