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Cobourg marks 20th anniversary of murder of police Const. Chris Garrett

The years may be accumulating, but family say so too are the memories of Cobourg Police Service Const. Chris Garrett.

Wednesday, May 15, marked the 20th anniversary of the murder of the 39-year-old veteran police officer. In the early morning hours of May 15, 2004, while responding to a reported robbery call at the former hospital, Garrett was stabbed by then-18-year-old Troy Davey who was claiming to be a robbery victim.

Before falling to his death, Garrett fired his gun, striking Davey in the leg. Davey was later arrested in hospital as he sought medical attention for his gunshot wound.

During his trial, the court heard that Davey had plans to shoot officers as they responded to the robbery call. Davey was convicted of first-degree murder.

Cobourg Police Service Const. Chris Garrett was killed in the line of duty on May 15, 2004. Cobourg Police Service

On Wednesday, family, friends and colleagues gathered at the park which was built in 2005 and named in Garrett’s honour.

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Garrett’s sister Nancy Ponica says her sibling remains “unforgettable.” Garrett left behind his wife Denise and two children, Benjamin and Brittany, and five siblings.

“He’s unforgettable,” Ponica told Global News. “That’s the only words I have to describe him. He was just a kind soul.”

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Around the Garrett Memorial Park memorial statue on Wednesday lay flowers and cups of coffee. The statue features two dozen steel birds shaped in the letter ‘C’ to represent “Chris.” Sculptor Gerald Gladstone says the 24 birds represent the date of Const. Garrett’s death — the fifth month, 15th day of the fourth year.

Family of Const. Chris Garrett gather at the memorial statue in Cobourg, Ont. on May 15, 2024. Garrett was killed in the line of duty on May 15, 2004. Tricia Mason/Global News Peterborough
Bagpipers play during a ceremony for the 20th anniversary of the death of Const. Chris Garrett at the park named in his honour in Cobourg, Ont. Tricia Mason/Global News Peterborough
Cobourg Police Service Chief Paul VandeGraaf speaks to the audience during a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of Const. Chris Garrett at the park named in his honour on May 15, 2024. Tricia Mason/Global News Peterborough

Ponica, joined by her mother Eveyln and sister Joanne Bauder, say each visitation highlights a new page in Garrett’s life.

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“Every year I come here I hear more and more stories about him,” said Ponica. “Each year you learn something new. He was liked by so many people. He just had a big heart.”

During a ceremony, police service chief Paul VandeGraaf  says the town owes Garrett immeasurable gratitude.

“I want everyone here to reflect on the life of Chris Garrett,” said VandeGraaf  who was appointed police chief in 2019. “His survivors. The impact this murder had on all of us… We stand here to recognize that person who provided the ultimate sacrifice to the community that he served. Our police officer memorial has a saying ‘Heroes in life not in death.’”

Garrett is one of two Cobourg police officers who has died in the line of duty. Constable William Rourke died of a heart attack during an arrest in 1915. Both officers are honoured on a memorial wall inside the Cobourg police station.

Click to play video: 'Cobourg Police unveil Wall of Honour to remember fallen constables'

Cobourg Police unveil Wall of Honour to remember fallen constables

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“Far too many police officers — any one police officer who died is too much,” said VandeGraaf. “And we are not seeing this trend go away. So we have to take these moments to really reflect on everybody who serves our community so well.”

Ponica says her family remains grateful for the continued outpouring of support from the community and Garrett’s colleagues.

“We are like a big family. The police officers are so great,” she said. “They are obvisouly caring people. Just stay in touch. It’s hard but you do move on. And there are bad days and good days.”

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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