Hundreds of people came out to Beechwood Cemetery yesterday to say goodbye to an Ottawa police officer who was killed in the line of duty last week.
Among the mourners were dozens of Const. Ireneusz (Eric) Czapnik’s fellow police officers, who gathered outside following the first day of the visitation services.
“It’s important to show the family how important Eric was to the community, to everybody,” said Ottawa police Const. Eli Edwards.
“Our policing community is pretty tight. When something like this happens, it affects all of us,” he said. “I think it’s a shock, not just to Ottawa, but to Canada as well.”
Inside the sacred space, Czapnik’s coffin, which stood open to one side of the room, was flanked by an honour guard.
In the receiving line, the wife, daughter and two sons of the 51-year-old officer were joined by Ottawa police Chief Vern White, Deputy Chief Sue Sullivan and Police Services Board chairman Eli El-Chantiry.
“It’s overwhelming for a lot of people right now,” said Ottawa police Sgt. George Lencewicz, who worked out of the same division as Czapnik and described him as “a very nice man.
“He took the job and his profession very seriously. It was important to him that people thought of him as being very competent.”
Tomorrow’s funeral procession will be difficult, he said.
“I think there are a lot of emotions that will hit a lot of people very hard that day,” he said.