Burnaby Mountie remembered after dying in the line of duty

A first degree murder charge has been laid as the community mourns the death of Burnaby RCMP Constable Shaelyn Yang. As Kier Junos reports, the suspect is now in custody until his next court date on Nov. 2.

Condolences and support continue to pour in Wednesday after a Burnaby Mountie was stabbed to death in the line of duty.

On Tuesday night, first responders from across Metro Vancouver lined the dark streets from Burnaby General Hospital to Vancouver to honour 31-year-old RCMP Const. Shaelyn (Tzu-Hsin) Yang.

Yang was fatally stabbed during an altercation Tuesday morning. Yang had been called to assist a Burnaby city parks employee after there were reports of a man in a tent at Broadview Park in the area of Canada Way just after 11 a.m.

Emergency responders were able to get to the officer, but, “despite their best efforts Const. Yang succumbed to her injuries,” said B.C. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald Tuesday.

Related Article: Burnaby RCMP officer killed on the job

Among those who gathered was colleague Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Mike Kalanj.

“Burnaby, Richmond, you name it — everyone [from] the Lower Mainland, they were there. We had fire trucks and engines from different jurisdictions. Ambulances. It was a bit of everything,” he told CityNews.

Overcome with emotion, Kalanj added that “there’s no real words” for him to describe the tragedy.

McDonald tried to keep his composure while describing his fallen colleague.

“She was a loving wife, a sister, and daughter. Those she worked with before joining the RCMP and her police colleagues, described Constable Yang as a kind and compassionate person which makes her death even more difficult to accept.

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“Yang died bravely. She answered the call to duty, and she paid the ultimate price,” he said.

Mounties have not released specific details about the altercation which lead to Yang’s death, however, the Independent Investigations Office, the police watchdog, has been called in, as the suspect remains in hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has now taken over the investigation into the officer’s death.

“I can tell you that an on-duty death is the most difficult and heart-wrenching incident that we have to deal with as an organization,” McDonald said.

“Each and every day our police officers say goodbye to their loved ones and they go off to work to serve their communities with commitment and dedication, as is the case with Constable Yang.”

Cst. Yang lived in Richmond and started her career working as a volunteer part-time with Richmond RCMP’s Victim Services before becoming a police officer in 2019, according to Mcdonald.

“The loss of Shaelyn will be felt by many. Her death impacts her family, friends, the RCMP family, and the community she so passionately served. Her loss is immeasurable,” McDonald said.

IIO begins investigating circumstances of altercation

In a media availability Wednesday morning, IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald says the police watchdog’s investigation surrounds Yang, and her role in the altercation.

“At this point in time, we’re not certain of the number of shots that were fired. It’s our information that she fired a shot, at least, at the individual who was involved, and that person — a male — went to hospital with injuries, but is expected to survive,” he explained.

While unable to provide any other details regarding the circumstances which lead up to the stabbing and shots fired, MacDonald says the IIO has gathered surveillance footage from a nearby building which will help with the investigation.

“We’ve been able to gather video evidence of the incident that shows quite a bit of it, in fact, all of the incident. It’s at some distance, but it provides us with excellent information. It is believed that because of that, I expect our investigation will wrap up sooner than later,” he said.

While unable to confirm a particular timeline, MacDonald says the investigation may be finished in weeks rather than months.

-With files from Hana Mae Nassar and Michael Williams

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