A sombre crowd gathered in front of the West Shore RCMP’s memorial garden Wednesday.
Shortly after noon, roughly 200 people in attendance bowed their heads for a moment of silence, honouring West Shore RCMP officer Const. Sarah Beckett, who was killed a year ago when her police cruiser was broadsided by a pickup truck in the Goldstream Avenue and Peatt Road intersection during the early hours of April 5.
Before the ceremony even started, bouquets of fresh flowers were already neatly stacked next to Beckett’s plaque. Fire trucks lined Atkins Avenue, as RCMP officers were joined by other first responders wishing to show their support.
“Tragedy struck our family on April 5, 2016,” said Staff Sgt. Raj Sandhu.
“Our initial plan was to have a small informal ceremony,” he said, but after numerous calls from members of the public, elected officials and others wishing to express their condolences and support, “we just knew we couldn’t keep this to ourselves.”
He thanked the community for their support, not just this week but during the past year.
An RCMP chaplain also offered a few words. “Our lives are like a pebble tossed into a pond …. long after the stone disappears, the ripples continue.”
Const. Krysti Seutter took a moment after the ceremony to lay a bouquet of orange tulips. A woman from the crowd stopped to offer the officer condolences, passing her a card and two stuffed toys.
“I can’t believe it’s been a year and I still can’t believe she’s gone,” Seutter said.
The pair were stationed on the same watch right up until about a month before Beckett was killed. “She helped me a lot when I was new … I really looked up to her, she was like a big sister at work,” Seutter recalled, adding with a laugh, “she always had food.”
But when their shift ended, she noted, Beckett wouldn’t often come out with the others. “She had to get home to her boys.”
Plans for a formal mural wall in honour of Beckett are underway, with an official unveiling date yet to be determined.
“Gone but not forgotten,” Sandhu said.