Thousands gather to honor a Toronto police officer killed in Canada’s shooting rampage

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

On Wednesday morning, mourners gathered as hundreds of police officers paid their respects at Constable Andrew Hong’s funeral home.

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

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

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He allegedly used the last 19 years of his career with the Police Traffic Services while working with a specialist motorcycle unit providing security escort for dignitaries. According to Toronto Police Services, Hong started his police career in 2000 before moving 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 celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary on Thursday.

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

“I heard stories from my parents’ lives before I was born,” Hong’s daughter Mia said. “As many of you could probably tell, he was a big guy. In his early years, it was a lot of lifting and hitting in 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-seat 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, over 8,000 people attended 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 sure all the 3 million people who live in the city would have come to visit if they could , and I know they are here in spirit and in support today,” Tory reportedly said.

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

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