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Father-to-be and 'snow angel': Edmonton officers shot and killed on duty remembered

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One of the police officers killed in Edmonton was about to be a father for the first time and the other was called a “snow angel” for going beyond the call of duty to help people.

Const. Brett Ryan, 30, and Const. Travis Jordan, 35, were fatally shot responding to a domestic violence call early Thursday morning.

Ryan, who had been with the Edmonton force for 5 1/2 years, is being remembered as a pillar of the community and a longtime minor hockey referee.

Darcy Carter, with the Spruce Grove Minor Hockey Association, said Ryan and his wife are expecting their first child.

“I was alongside him growing up as he grew as an official and grew into a person and a husband," Carter said.

Ryan, who lived in Spruce Grove just west of Edmonton, was always willing to give back, helping younger hockey officials develop their skills, Carter said. The officer was also active in the slow pitch community.

Ryan was a paramedic before he became a police officer, Carter said, adding that his friend was passionate about his work and his duty to serve the community.

"That’s something that I’ll never forget … just his face lighting up when he talked about his job," Carter said.

The Alberta Paramedic Association said Ryan served as a paramedic with Medavie Health Services in Saddle Lake, Alta., from 2012 to 2015.

"Throughout his career, helping others was the focus of all his roles," a statement from the association reads.

Ryan is survived by his wife Ashley Ryan, who is a paramedic, it said.

Garett Ryan wrote on Twitter that he's proud of his brother.

"Words cannot describe how much I love my big little brother," he wrote. "I am so proud of him, his accomplishments, and the man he has become. I'll miss him always."

Jordan had been with the Edmonton force for 8 1/2 years.

He grew up in Nova Scotia and his family still lives in the province. Nova Scotia RCMP organized a memorial procession, which also included numerous officers from the Kentville Police Service and military police, to drive through Coldbrook to honour the officer and his family Thursday afternoon.

Jessica Shmigelsky remembered Jordan as being calm and kind when she really needed to see the goodness in people. She said his family gave her permission to speak about the experience.

Shmigelsky’s day was going terribly when she met Jordan in Edmonton 2020. There had been a heavy spring snowfall, her snow brush was broken and she was having a difficult day at work.

Jordan pulled her over for having too much snow on her vehicle, she said, but instead of giving her a ticket he grabbed his own snow brush and proceeded to clean off her car.

Jessica Shmigelsky and Const. Travis Jordan in 2020. (Credit: Jessica Shmigelsky)

"It was a very lighthearted interaction. It wasn't what I was expecting it to be," she said, adding it was like talking with a big brother.

She didn’t get the officer’s name at the time but posted about the encounter online, where he quickly was nicknamed a “snow angel.” Jordan’s sister in Nova Scotia saw the post and connected the officer and Shmigelsky.

Jordan asked to meet up and Shmigelsky and gave her a new snow brush. It’s the one she still uses.

“He did his job and he did more than what his job really entailed.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2023. 

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