The casket of Const. David Wynn, draped in a Canadian flag and topped with a Mountie's campaign hat, sat at the front of an Alberta hockey arena Monday afternoon.
Wynn's life was being celebrated by two families — first by his wife and three sons, but also by the thousands of RCMP officers and emergency workers who packed the rink.
"We're all here because we lost something precious to us today — Const. David Wynn," his sister, Mona Wynn, told the crowd.
'May you find comfort in the family and friends that surround you and a nation that mourns with you.' — Tiffiny Manetta
A column of Mountie red dominated the centre of the arena, joined by other police forces from across Canada and the U.S.
Many took part in the procession that wound through the streets of St. Albert and carried Wynn, 42, to Servus Credit Union Place for the regimental funeral.
Mona Wynn described her brother as a prankster and an outdoorsman who loved teaching his sons how to fly-fish.
But most of all, she described her brother as a man who dedicated his life to others. While living in Nova Scotia, Wynn was almost killed in a car crash. She said that experience turned him toward a life of serving others, first as a paramedic and later as an RCMP officer.
"David would want us to follow our hearts, because that's what he did, " she said.
"David would want us to make a contribution in the world."
Wynn's commitment to the job was echoed by his uncle, retired RCMP sergeant Duncan MacInnis, who served as the master of ceremonies at the service.
"We are here today to mourn the terrible loss of my nephew, David Wynn of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and to recognize the ultimate sacrifice he has made in the line of duty to keep our community safe," MacInnis said, his voice shaking as he spoke.
"We are also here to celebrate his life of service. He has contributed to the fabric of this community, this province and our great country of Canada.
"The sudden and violent death of David has left everyone in the policing community and general public suffering a profound loss. As a family, as a police force, and as a community we mourn and grieve our fallen hero.
"Thank you all for joining us. Your prayers and acts of kindness have touched us and demonstrated the support and respect you have for all our officers and families. From all our families, we thank you."
The service, which was attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, was broadcast to other areas of the city to accommodate the number of mourners.
- 'We should remember him:' 11-year-old boy pens tribute to fallen Mountie
- David Wynn remembered as city readies for thousands at funeral
- Shawn Rehn, alleged shooter of St. Albert Mounties, had history of crime, drug use
- Shooting of David Wynn, Derek Bond sparked by routine licence plate check
'They have lost their hero'
RCMP chaplain Cyril Gowler then took the podium to offer a prayer for Wynn, his wife and three sons.
"I pray especially for the Wynn family and all their loved ones. They have lost their hero. Shelly is bereaved of her dear husband. Matthew and Nathan and Alex have lost their champion," he said.
"Lord God, they need the tender care only you can bring to this tragedy."
Wynn never regained consciousness after being shot in the head while confronting a man over a suspicious vehicle early on Jan.17 at a casino in St. Albert, just northwest of Edmonton. He died four days later in hospital.
Wynn and another RCMP officer, Aux. Const. Derek Bond, were shot after a routine licence plate check led to the confrontation. Bond was released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
Shawn Rehn, the man believed to be responsible for the shooting, was found dead several hours later in a rural home.
Family speaks of love, pride in RCMP
Family who spoke described Wynn as a father and husband who loved his family, fly fishing and tea.
Another recurring sentiment shared by all speakers was Wynn's pride in his role with the RCMP, a job that friends called his "lifelong" dream.
Wynn's wife, Shelly, nodded as her cousin Tiffiny Manetta said, "As many of you know, it was easy to be proud of Dave."
"Shelly, Nate, Alex, Kay and the Wynn family — none of us can imagine what you're going through. May you find comfort in the family and friends that surround you and a nation that mourns with you," seconded Gowler.
“Every one of us here today — whether we knew Dave or not — will ironically and sadly live a richer life because of Dave’s sacrificial love for you and me.
"Dave, you will never be forgotten. Your laughter, service to your community and country will live on forever. Until we meet again, may you rest in peace."
The funeral included musical performances by Maritime group the Rankin Family, as well as by Wynn’s former colleagues, paramedics Kevin Davison and Andrew Frelick, who performed When Those Sirens are Gone — a tribute to first responders. Country singer Paul Brandt also performed an acoustic version of Amazing Grace.
RCMP 'family from coast to coast'
Const. Darrel Laboucan was among those marching through the streets. The 25-year-old RCMP officer from Slave Lake, Alta., didn’t know Wynn personally, but wanted to be a part of the procession to honour the Mountie.
"You have that uniform on, you wear that red serge, you’re just part of a big family from coast to coast," he said.
"I can tell you a fact that if I was in Const, Wynn’s situation now, he would be there for me. Just as any RCMP member would be there for each other."
Laboucan said RCMP officers are often the bearer of bad news and become targets of negative reaction. He said Wynn’s shooting provides a harsh reminder of the dangers of the job.
"These days, there are no more routine calls. There’s a lot of unpredictability," Laboucan said.
Wynn, who had three sons, volunteered at schools in St. Albert. He was popular among students at Keenooshayo Elementary School, where he was involved with the school’s D.A.R.E drug prevention program.
Laboucan, who is also training to teach D.A.R.E programs, said he feels a close connection with the slain officer and his work in St. Albert.
"Everything I’ve heard about Const, Wynn has been nothing short of magnificent," he said. "As much as it is unfortunate that [he] has passed, we’re going to carry his memory on."