RCMP Const. Dave Ross's loved ones say they lost a man who was their role model and source of inspiration.
One by one, Ross's tearful brothers and sisters, mother and step-father leaned into the microphone at a news conference this afternoon in Victoriaville, Que. — the place where Ross was born and raised. He moved to New Brunswick seven years ago to pursue his dream of becoming an police officer.
'He died a hero. I’m very proud of my son,'- Hélène Rousseau, mother
His family members repeated that Ross was a father who loved his 19-month-old son and was eagerly awaiting his second child in September. They also described him as a leader and person willing to come to the aid of those in need.
Ross, 32, was shot and killed in the line of duty in Moncton, N.B. Wednesday night.
- Moncton shootings: Slain RCMP officers mourned by families
- Dave Ross ID'd as one of the Mounties killed in Moncton shooting
- Suspected Moncton shooter in custody after manhunt
“He died doing what he loved the most,” his younger half-brother, Olivier Juneau Rousseau said, trying to hold back tears. “He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He took a bullet for someone he didn’t know.”
His mother, Hélène Rousseau, said the last time she saw her son — two days before his death during a video chat — he had “so much love in his eyes.”
“I have good memories because two days before his death, before we hung up, he said ‘Mom, never forget that I love you,’” she said.
Loved the oudoors
Ross grew up hunting and fishing in Quebec, following in the steps of his own father. His mother remembered him proudly bringing home “all kinds of animals” from various hunts.
His brother said he loved nature and taught his younger brothers and sisters everything he knew about the outdoors.
He was an affectionate brother who watched out for all of his siblings, Ross’s family recalled.
“I was so proud of him. I don’t think there was anyone close to me who didn’t know my brother was in New Brunswick in the RCMP,” said Ross’s sister, Cynthia.
Ross's family said he was passionate about his job as a dog handler for the RCMP.
"Dave was someone who loved nature, animals. He always succeeded in life. I was proud of him. He was my idol," Juneau Rousseau said.
Mother thought Ross was in surgery
Rousseau said she only learned about the shooting late Wednesday night. She had been out without her cell phone and didn’t know anything had happened until her daughter called and asked if she’d heard anything about Dave.
She called Ross’s wife, who was at the hospital. They believed Ross was in surgery.
But, a short time later, Rousseau got a call from the RCMP, informing her that they hadn’t located her son. She was told the police would call again once they located him.
“An hour later, my mother’s heart told me that he was already gone. I had a feeling that it was already over,” she said.
“He died a hero. I’m very proud of my son ... My son wasn't spared but since they found the killer, there are probably other lives that were spared,” Rousseau said.
Support from Quebec
The family credited their faith for getting them through the unthinkable ordeal and thanked Quebecers for their prayers.
“Dave died for to protect others and we can be proud of him. We know Quebec is supporting us… We appreciate it a lot,” said his half-sister Adélie Rousseau.
Ross's funeral will be held in Moncton but he is being remembered in Victoriaville, where flags are flying at half-mast.
I just want to say thank you for all your support everybody because we’re going to need your prayers," said Victoriaville Mayor Alain Rayes.
Rayes is asking residents, and all Quebecers, to continue a movement started in Moncton to leave their porch light on to honour the dead and injured in the shooting.