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B.C. RCMP officer killed in the line of duty to be honoured with regimental funeral service

Mounties are paying tribute to one of their own Wednesday with a regimental funeral service honouring a British Columbian RCMP officer killed on the job last month.

Const. Shaelyn Yang, 31, a homeless and mental health outreach officer, was fatally stabbed while responding to a call about a man in a tent in a park in Burnaby, B.C., just east of Vancouver, on Oct. 18.

On Nov. 2, members of Yang’s Burnaby detachment will be joined by first responders from across the country and Washington State to pay tribute to her life and service. The regimental funeral will start with a street procession before mourners gather at the Richmond Olympic Oval at 11 a.m. PT to say their final goodbyes — and thank yous — to Yang.

“She paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Major David Douangchanh, who helped organize the event. 

CBC News is livestreaming the procession and funeral, starting at 9:30 a.m. PT.

An earlier procession honouring slain RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang was held by the Surrey RCMP detachment on Oct. 21. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

There will be significant road closures and traffic restrictions between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the area around the Richmond Oval. RCMP are warning motorists that roadways on both sides of the Fraser River near the Vancouver International Airport South Terminal will be affected. 

Douangchanh said the procession, which will wind through Richmond, south of Vancouver, will be led by the RCMP E Division Pipe Band. 

As is RCMP tradition, a riderless horse will symbolize fallen officer Yang and her flag-draped casket will be carried by a hearse surrounded by eight honourary police pallbearers, who will then carry her into the funeral venue. Colleagues who trained with Yang, or knew her personally, will keep step behind the hearse.

Douangchanh estimates at least a thousand additional first responders including municipal police officers, firefighters, and paramedics will also join the procession. Members of the armed forces and the Canadian Border Services Agency are also expected to attend.

B.C. Ferries is providing free travel for emergency responders attending Yang’s service.

‘Gentle, yet brave’

Yang was the daughter of immigrants from Taichung in central Taiwan. Her parents flew from Taiwan to Vancouver to attend her funeral and Douangchanh said the outpouring of support from colleagues and the public has been a comfort to them.

“We want to make sure that they understand that we will never forget the sacrifice that Shaelyn did and made and we will always remember and honour her and we will be there for the family moving on,” he said.

In a statement prior to the funeral, Yang’s family described her as a woman who was “gentle yet brave, compassionate yet courageous,” who “brought with her laughter and joy wherever she went.”

Flowers are seen at Broadview Park in Burnaby, B.C., on Oct. 19, near the scene where Burnaby RCMP officer Const. Shaelyn Yang was killed. Jongwon Ham, 37, has been charged with first-degree murder in Yang’s death and will next appear in court Nov. 2, the same day as Yang’s funeral. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Members of the public are not able to attend the funeral at the Richmond Olympic Oval, but the City of Burnaby is hosting a screening at the Willingdon Church at 4812 Willingdon Ave. with capacity for 2,000 people.

The RCMP says there is no public space to leave flowers in Yang’s memory along the procession route and ask that people wear red to honour her instead.

In honour of Yang, the roof of B.C. Place in Vancouver will glow red, gold and blue on Wednesday.

Anyone who wishes to send an electronic message to the family can email RCMP.Condolences-Condoleances.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca, and police say those will be relayed to Yang’s loved ones and the Burnaby detachment.

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