A crowd fundraiser in memory for a Mountie killed last Friday, Sept. 22 in Coquitlam has generated more than $120,000.
The GoFundMe page to raise money for the wife and six children of Const. Frederick "Rick" O'Brien of the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment is organized by Kevin Halway, chairperson of the National Police Federation Benevolent Foundation, in collaboration with the National Police Federation.
Launched in 2020, the foundation is a charity that collects donations for the families of RCMP members who have died in the line of duty or off-duty.
It aims to bring in $125,000 for O'Brien's loved ones; the original fundraising goal was $50,000.
To date, more than 1,000 donations have come in from RCMP detachments across the country, as well as fire departments including from Port Moody’s.
Contributors are also leaving messages of condolences for O'Brien's family.
"Your family and colleagues are in our hearts," one commenter wrote.
"He helped keep us all safe and lost his life doing it," said another.
"There are no words that can comfort the grieving at a time like this," a third person wrote. "He paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving his country. My thoughts and prayers and deepest heartfelt condolences go out towards the family and all impacted by this tragedy."
@braydentcullen R.I.P to the RCMP Officer #coquitlam #rcmp #shooting ? snowfall - Øneheart & reidenshi
Coquitlam man charged
Meanwhile, Nicholas Bellemare, 25, of Coquitlam is charged with the first-degree murder of 51-year-old O'Brien, as well as attempted murder with a firearm on another officer.
Three Ridge Meadows Mounties were executing a search warrant at a condo in the Evergreen building near the Glen Drive and Pinetree Way intersection — in relation to a drug investigation that originated in Maple Ridge — when the violent altercation happened.
Bellemare was also shot. He is in custody and is expected to appear at Port Coquitlam Provincial Court on Oct. 3; a publication ban is imposed on the hearings.
Last week, following the murder of O'Brien, Supt. Went Mehat, Ridge Meadows officer in charge, tweeted that "while we grieve the loss of Const. Rick O'Brien, I would like to thank the community for your unwavering support to the Ridge Meadows RCMP."
"Rick was a dedicated police officer and a wonderful human being. We will miss him tremendously."
In the House of Commons today, Monday, Sept. 25, the Liberal MP for Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam made a statement about the murder of Const. O'Brien that happened in his constituency:
"It is with regret that I rise today in this place to honour RCMP Constable Rick O'Brien of the Ridge Meadows detachment, who last Friday was struck down in the line of duty while executing a search warrant in Coquitlam.
"Words cannot ever encompass a tragedy like this.
"Nevertheless, on behalf of myself and my family, on behalf all of the residents of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and indeed the whole of the Tri-Cities — and I daresay on behalf of all of us in this place — I would like to express my deepest sadness, and most profound condolences to Const. O’Brien’s wife and children, and to his many friends and colleagues, all of whom will feel his absence forever.
"Maintiens le droit."