Tributes paid to expatriate Borderer shot dead in Canada

John Davidson.
John Davidson.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has led tributes to a former Hawick High School pupil shot dead while working as a police officer in his adopted homeland.

Constable John Davidson, originally from Newcastleton, was killed while trying to arrest a suspect in Abbotsford, British Columbia, last week.

Mr Trudeau hailed the 53-year-old as a hero in a tweet posted immediately after his death was announced, writing: “Police work in harm’s way to protect us all.

“My deepest sympathies to the family of officer Davidson, killed in the line of duty.”

British Columbia opposition leader Rich Coleman also passed on his condolences to the officer’s family.

He said: “I know personally the sadness that comes with the loss of a colleague and friend in the line of duty.

“We take this moment to offer our appreciation to the brave men and women who put their lives at risk to protect British Columbians and grieve with them for this loss.”

The Abbotsford force paid tribute to the married father of three, saying: “Our community lost a hero.

“John was a dedicated police officer who devoted so much of his time to connecting with the community and helping kids.”

Mr Davidson formerly served with Northumbria Police, and its acting chief constable, Winton Keenen, said: “We were very saddened to learn of the death of our former colleague, who died bravely in the line of duty while serving as an officer in Abbotsford, Canada.

“Our thoughts are very much with his family, friends and former colleagues at this difficult time.”

Mr Davidson was a police officer for 24 years, working from 1993 to 2005 in Newcastle and North Shields, then on motor patrols, before he emigrated.

Mr Keenen added: “Many of our officers who knew John well during his career with us and who kept in touch with him over the ensuing years are shocked by the events in Canada.

“We all want to express our sincere condolences to his family at this tragic news.”

Abbotsford police chief Bob Rich said: “We ask our police officers when someone is putting people’s lives in danger, when there is an active shooter, we ask that they no longer wait for cover.

“We no longer set up teams. The first person in goes in.

“John Davidson was the first person in, and away he went, and he died protecting you and me.”

Mr Davidson had won plaudits for his work in reducing teenage deaths on roads and an awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of the drug ecstasy.

The fitness enthusiast, formerly a player for the Hearts of Liddesdale football team, had recently completed a fundraising bike ride with other officers for research into cancer.

Mr Rich said: “In 2006, he uprooted his family, his wonderful wife and three small kids at that point, and all of them came out here to a place that they knew nothing about.

“He wanted an outdoors life. He wanted to try something new.

“The family are amazing. The family are strong. The family are in shock. The family are going to draw together and look after each other, but it is going to be quite a journey.”

Oscar Arfmann, 65, of Alberta, has been charged with first-degree murder.

A regimental funeral for Mr Davidson will be held on Sunday, November 19.