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Police mourn death of RCMP constable fatally stabbed in Burnaby, B.C.

Shaelyn Yang’s homicide marks the fifth on-duty death of a police officer in Canada in as many weeks
RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang is seen in this undated RCMP handout photo. Const. Shaelyn Yang, 31, died in an altercation at a homeless campsite in which the suspect was shot and seriously injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, B.C. RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Mounties are mourning one of their own after an RCMP officer was fatally stabbed while attending someone’s tent in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald says the death Tuesday of Const. Shaelyn Yang, 31, will be felt by her colleagues who say goodbye to their loved ones each day when they go to work to serve their communities.

Police say Yang was partnered with a city employee when an altercation broke out near a single pitched tent and she was fatally stabbed.

A suspect, who was shot and seriously injured, was being treated in hospital.

Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley says the city worker who was with Yang was “deeply shaken” and the city is offering support to affected staff.

A statement from the National Police Federation says Yang’s homicide marks the fifth on-duty death of a police officer in Canada in as many weeks, adding “no one should fear their next shift could be their last, and no colleague should have to bear the unfathomable loss of a fallen peer.”

Homicide detectives are investigating the stabbing, while the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., which looks into any incidents of serious harm or death involving police, is also reviewing what happened.

“As the commanding officer of the B.C. RCMP, I can tell you that an on-duty death is the most difficult and heart-wrenching incident we deal with as an organization,” McDonald said.

The statement from the police federation called the deadly attack “an unfortunate but stark reminder that police officers face risk every time they show up for work.”

It said that reality is “becoming all too common” and called October a “devastating month” for all Canadian police officers and their families.

A procession of police vehicles drove slowly through Metro Vancouver Tuesday night to honour Yang.

The RCMP mental health and homeless outreach officer “died bravely,” McDonald said.

Yang had been a police officer since December 2019.

McDonald said she was stabbed during “an altercation” while she partnered with a city employee officer at a homeless camp site around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

She was pronounced dead at hospital.

A suspect was shot and seriously injured and remains in hospital, he said during an emotional news conference.

“Constable Yang died bravely. She answered the call to duty and she paid the ultimate price,” he said.

More details of the confrontation aren’t being released as a murder investigation continues and the police watchdog looks into the shooting of the suspect, McDonald said.

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