Nfld. & Labrador

RNC officer pens tribute song for Const. Heidi Stevenson

Daniel Cadigan didn't know Heidi Stevenson. But when he learned that a fellow police officer was killed in the Nova Scotia shooting rampage, he picked up his guitar and started writing.

He never met her. But they were part of a "worldwide family" of police

Daniel Cadigan didn't know Heidi Stevenson. But when he learned that a fellow police officer was killed in a shooting rampage in Nova Scotia, he picked up his guitar and started writing.

"Sometimes people turn to music when it comes to grieving, and how to deal with things, and I guess that's kind of where I went with it." said Cadigan in an interview on CBC News Network.

Cadigan is a constable with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Over the weekend, he watched the news of the killings on television from his home in Logy Bay.

"Sitting home and following along as that was unfolding, chatting with all my officers and partners and colleagues, you want to be there and help. It's a helpless feeling." said Cadigan. 

This is an undated handout photo of RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson. There is an outpouring of grief across Nova Scotia as the names of victims of a weekend mass killing begin to emerge, ranging from a nurse to a teacher to RCMP officer Heidi Stevenson. (RCMP/The Canadian Press)

The feeling got worse as he learned that one of the victims was a police officer, who was killed in the line of duty while responding to the shooting. Const. Heidi Stevenson was a 23-year veteran of the RCMP, and a mother of two.

Stevenson is among at least 23 people killed in Canada's worst-ever mass shooting, committed by a 51-year-old man dressed as a police officer who went on a 12-hour rampage in rural Nova Scotia.

As tributes to her began pouring in from across the country, Cadigan picked up his guitar and began writing a tribute of his own. He said he felt the loss of a fellow officer on a personal level.

"Seeing that happen, just thinking about her kids, her family, her colleagues, it's such a horrible thing to think about. She hasn't left my mind the last couple days," said Cadigan.

"As a police officer, I think when you get into this line of work, no matter where you go in the world, you can walk into any police station and be looked after by another officer. So you become part of a worldwide family."

Cadigan uploaded a video of himself singing and playing the tribute song on an acoustic guitar. 

RNC Constable Daniel Cadigan lives in Logy Bay. (Daniel Cadigan)

He said tragedy is a reminder of the risks that all police officers face when they report for work each morning. 

"This job and what you do, there's no guarantees," he said.

"It's just a matter of supporting each other, day in, day out, and be thankful for what you have in front of you and make sure you're looked after."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador