Off-duty Abbotsford, B.C., police officer dies after trying to stop disturbance

Off-duty Abbotsford, B.C., police officer dies after trying to stop disturbance

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — A British Columbia police officer is being remembered for his “spark for life” and love of sharing stories and advice.

Const. Allan Young, a 16-year member of the Abbotsford Police Department, died Tuesday, days after intervening in a dispute during an off-duty visit to the southeastern B.C. city of Nelson.

Abbotsford police spokeswoman Sgt. Judy Bird said the 55-year-old had been on life support since July 16 and died surrounded by his family.

He is survived by his wife and adult daughter.

“He had a spark for life. He had a spark for community. But that doesn’t give justice to how he shared positive energy with everybody, it didn’t matter who you were,” she said.

Bird said Abbotsford residents have relayed how Young told stories about his own difficult times in order to help them cope with their challenges.

“That human element impacted people’s lives and that makes a huge difference,” she said.

Allan was born in Scotland, served in the British Royal Navy and immigrated to Canada in 1997, where he joined the Toronto Police Service in 2000 and served for four years.

“I don’t know what brought him to British Columbia, but we were very lucky to snag Const. Young … in 2004, and ever since that day he has been a ray of sunshine in our building,” said Bird.

She laughed while describing his thick Scottish accent, which she said he never lost.

“He would speak quickly because he was just so happy and energetic, and if you didn’t catch exactly what was said at least you got a gist of what the conversation was and it was always, usually, very funny.”

Police in Nelson have released few details of what happened when Young stepped into the altercation in that city’s downtown core.

They confirmed a 26-year-old man was arrested and remains in custody charged with aggravated assault.

Premier John Horgan called Young’s death a tragic loss.

“Our hearts are with the friends, family and colleagues of @AbbyPoliceDept Const. Allan Young,” Horgan said in a social media post, Wednesday.

Abbotsford Chief Const. Mike Serr issued a statement Monday, while Young was still on life support, saying that Young treated everyone with kindness and respect.

“He always had time for a laugh and a joke,” Serr said. ”Allan was never too busy for his friends and family, and there was nothing he wouldn’t do to help.”

Details about a service for Young were not yet available, Bird said.

— By Beth Leighton in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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