Members of the RCMP must surely know when they are photographed in their red serge how and where those proud formal portraits might be displayed. Certainly they will be on the mantles of family members, but they can appear, too, in news pages and on TV, for there is much in their workaday lives—both good and evil—that is beyond their knowing and beyond their control.
Sometimes those photos are shown in celebration, as when Const. Douglas Larche received a Commander’s Commendation for saving the life of an unconscious baby in 2008. And sometimes they are displayed in sorrow. This week Larche’s portrait, with his piercing eyes and the hint of a secret smile, is joined by two other fallen comrades—Const. Fabrice Gévaudan and Const. Dave Ross—behind a book of condolences at the Codiac RCMP detachment in Moncton, in newspaper obituaries, and at a regimental funeral Tuesday that left the city of 70,000 awash in tears. They were lured to their deaths by an assassin who gave no warning, offered no chance of defence, and displayed no emotion. They died because “without fear or hesitation,” as Larche’s obituary said, they “ran toward danger.” But they are defined by how they lived rather than how they died:
Fabrice Georges Gévaudan, 45, RCMP #55685.
He was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, but chose Canada, graduating from the RCMP academy in 2008 after receiving his citizenship. He married Angela, his “twin flame” as he called her, and became step-father to Emma. He was a general duty member and a police diver. He loved “strong, conﬁdent women,” as his obituary said, and abhorred domestic violence. He was an optimist with a quick wit. “Fab would be impressed with the turnout,” said Marlene Snowman, superintendent of the Codiac detachment, at Tuesday’s memorial. “He lived life large, from the mystery of the depths of the ocean to the fine lines of a great car, Fabrice in his own meticulous way led others.”
Douglas James Larche, 40, RCMP #49269.
He was the son of Dan Larche, a retired career Mountie, the husband of Nadine and the father of three young daughters: Mia, Lauren and Alexa, his “little princesses.” He loved making presentations at his daughters’ school; he wanted children to know he would keep them safe. His initial posting included the tiny village of Doaktown, N.B., where he was a popular figure and a friendly face. He transferred to the Codiac detachment, working general investigations and serious crimes. He was in plain clothes when he rushed to the gun call the night of his death. “Doug, the consummate father and gentleman, was always able to strike a balance between the loves of his life: running [he was a marathoner] and his wonderful family,” Snowman said in her eulogy. “If you needed something done, fast and right, Doug was your guy . . . But when Doug spoke, people took notice. They listened.”
Dave Joseph Ross, 32, RCMP #54868.
He was the husband of Rachael and the father of Austin. They were awaiting the birth of a second son this fall. He was a general duty member who had recently achieved the coveted role of police-dog services handler. He loved being among the first called to chase hidden prey in dark and dangerous places—as he was the night of his death. “Dave lived his ultimate dream in that his family not only included his wife and young son but his K-9 partner Danny,” Snowman said. “When you meet your future wife, and your first question to her is ‘Do you like dogs?’ you know your true passion is being a dog man.”