WATCH ABOVE: The country is showing its support for the families affected by the shooting. Michel Boyer shows us how many are trying to cope.
WARNING: Some of the details of this story may be disturbing to some.
EDMONTON – Children at a St. Albert public school where one of the RCMP officers shot Saturday worked are receiving support this week.
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A team of counsellors, psychologists and therapy dogs were at Keenooshayo Elementary School on Monday to help staff and students cope with the weekend’s tragedy.
Const. David Wynn and Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond were responding to a call of a stolen vehicle early Saturday morning when their investigation led them into St. Albert’s Apex Casino. After a short altercation with the suspect, who has since been identified as 34-year-old Shawn Maxwell Rehn, Bond and Wynn were shot.
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Wynn, a married father of three, also works as the school’s liaison officer and as a mentor with the RCMP’s drug-prevention program ‘DARE‘ at Keenooshayo school.
“We talk about him as a DARE officer, but he was just so much more than that to this school,” said Paula Power, the spokesperson for St. Albert Public Schools.
“The students all love him and respect him and he’s just such a great presence in the school.”
Those who know him say he’s always made an impression on the children.
“When I spoke to the principal and the other staff about him, there just isn’t a bad word to be said about him,” said Power. “He was just so positive for that school. He was positive about the school and he was… just so thrilled to be a part of it.
“They are so happy to have him there all the time.”
“He’s wonderful with the students. He’s got a great rapport with the students and they just look up to him.”
Power explained all the students are handling the news differently.
“The kids, they really range in how they deal with these things. Some students are handling it reasonably well. Some students need a little bit more help.”
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The counsellors and psychologists will be there for whatever they may be needed for.
“They’ll work with the students in whatever capacity the students need,” said Power. “Sometimes it’s group discussions, sometimes it’s one-on-one discussions, sometimes they’ll come in with a friend and talk to them. We also have therapy dogs that work at the school… the therapy dogs will be here today and they provide great comfort to the students.”
She said the shooting is also having an impact on staff.
“It’s a small school, it’s a very tightly-knit community. Our staff are really feeling this. They work with Const. Wynn, so they’re devastated.”
Our thoughts are with our @RCMP officers today, who do so much for our schools and our community.
— St. Albert Public (@StAlbertPublic) January 17, 2015
Before moving to St. Albert, Wynn lived in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia and worked with various organizations, including as a paramedic and a Canadian Red Cross First Aid instructor.
“He helped Nova Scotians in their times of need for years,” said Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil. “I’m sure I speak for the entire province when I say we are thinking of him.”
“When you hear that and it’s someone you know very well – we are very close to him and his wife – yeah, it’s devastating,” said John Collyer, the Bridgewater police chief.
“Our thoughts, our prayers are with his family … and his colleagues in Alberta.”
Meanwhile, a memorial for the two officers continues to grow outside the RCMP detachment.
“Regardless of the uniform, we are all brothers in blue,” reads one note left on a bouquet. “Our deepest sympathy. Our thoughts are with you.”