Thousands gather to honor Toronto police officer who was slain in Canada shooting rampage

Thousands of mourners, including officers, politicians, family and friends, gathered for the funeral of the Toronto police officer who was slain in a shooter’s rampage last week.

On Wednesday morning, mourners gathered as hundreds of police officers gave solemn salutes at Constable Andrew Hong’s funeral cortege.

Hong, 48, was at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Mississauga, Ontario, on Sept. 12 when he was ambushed and shot dead by a 30-year-old man named Shawn Petry. He was one of the three people fatally shot by Petry that day before the suspect was later shot dead by police in Hamilton Cemetery.

Hong, a 22-year veteran and a member of Toronto police’s Traffic Services Unit, was running a joint training exercise with Peel and York Regional Police in Mississauga and was taking his lunch break when the shooting occured.

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He reportedly spent the past 19 years of his career with police traffic services while working with a specialized motorcycle unit that provided security escorts for dignitaries. According to Toronto Police Services, Hong started his policing career in 2000 before he moved to traffic services two years later.

Hong’s casket was carried to the Toronto Congress Center from the Kane-Jarrett Funeral Home in Thornhill as a parade of officers and dignitaries lined the route to pay tribute to the slain officer.

The father of two is remembered as a hero who was “extremely passionate about his work.” During the service, Hong’s wife Jenny noted that they would have been celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary on Thursday.

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“He was a big man with a big personality. He was larger than life. We miss him every day, and our home will always feel empty without him,” Jenny reportedly said. “Andrew, if you are listening, please know that you will always and forever be the greatest love of my life. Happy anniversary.”

“I would hear stories from my parents’ life before I was born,” Hong’s daughter Mia said. “As many of you could probably see, he was a big guy. In his early years, it was a lot of lifting and hitting the gym. But as he got older, his love for his muscles and cars turned into his love for his wife and kids. He went from a stick shift Volkswagen GTI to an eight seater minivan.”

While Hong’s casket was draped in a Canadian flag, the ceremony also included a Korean traditional folk song performed by the Korean Traditional Music Association of Canada.

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According to Toronto police, there were over 8,000 people in attendance at the procession, including officers from Quebec and Halifax. Representatives from all levels of government, including Mayor John Tory, were also present.

“I told Jenny and Mia and Alex yesterday when I met them and the rest of their family, that I was certain that all 3 million people who live in the city would have come to visit if they could have and I know that they are here in spirit and in support today,” Tory reportedly said.

 

Featured Image via @TPAca (left), CBC News (right)