Permanent memorial at site of Abbotsford officer’s shooting

Memories remain for those working at shopping centre where Const. John Davidson was gunned down

Bam Sidhu woke up on the morning of Nov. 9, girding for a tough day.

The windows of the second-floor offices of Sun Life Financial, which Sidhu manages, looked westward, toward Vancouver and, in the late afternoon and evening, to the setting sun. But now the view from Sidhu’s workplace – and that of dozens of other employees at other Mt. Lehman Centre businesses – included a crime scene and a memorial to the life and actions of Const. John Davidson.

Three days prior, Davidson had been gunned down in the middle of the day, his body falling in sight of men and women who go to work at the strip mall every day.

By Thursday, the shopping centre had been re-opened. The lingering images of that day would remain, though.

“I woke up on the morning and said ‘I need to do something to remember this individual who did something for us,’ ” Sidhu said this week.

So on that Thursday, Sidhu stopped, bought some candles and placed them beside the parking spot where Davidson had been shot. Slowly, the memorial grew as others added their own tributes.

The memorial was diligently tended to by Hester Lee, the owner of Hana Sushi, directly across from the site. Davidson was a regular customer at Lee’s small restaurant, and owner and officer had come to know each other.

“I took care as a duty for my friend,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, in the offices above, Sidhu and his co-workers were thinking about the future, when the memorial would disappear but the memories of what they saw would remain.

“It’s a spot in our parking lot that so many of us look out at. And we’re trying to get rid of the visual of what took place and it’s hard to.”

An idea quickly emerged for a permanent memorial of some sort. Keith Locke, who manages the site for Pinegrove Properties, was all for the project. And after getting the thumbs up from Davidson’s family and the APD, a design was settled on.

Now, just weeks later, the memorial is a reality. Midway up a light stanchion above the parking spot where Davidson fell is a four-sided rectangular tribute bearing the Scottish flag and Davidson’s Northumbria and Abbotsford police badge numbers.

The memorial spot is reserved for police and outlined in blue. Abbotsford Line Marking and Dickson Signs donated their services for the memorial.

Sidhu said the memorials and Davidson’s funeral have helped bring some closure to those present when Davidson was killed.

But the reality of Davidson’s sacrifice remains ever-present in a parking lot many workers cross each day to get lunch or coffee.

“We’re in that parking lot all the time … all around the same time that happened,” he said. “At the end of the day, we don’t know what this individual was about to do. He could have done a lot more damage at this mall, and this officer sacrificed his life.

“He was truly a hero and heroes should be remembered.”

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