Toronto police constable remembered as ‘bright light’ as thousands attend funeral
September 21, 2022 By The Canadian Press
Sept. 21, 2022, Toronto, Ont. – A Toronto police officer killed in what’s been called an ambush attack was remembered Wednesday by family and friends as someone who was a natural teacher who brightened the lives of those around him.
Thousands of police officers, loved ones and dignitaries packed a large venue in north Toronto for Const. Andrew Hong’s funeral a little more than a week after the 48-year-old officer was shot dead in a Mississauga, Ont., coffee shop.
“Everyone who knew him loved him. That was always Andrew,” Jenny Hong, the widow of Andrew Hong, told the mourners in a eulogy delivered at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Officers from police forces across Canada and the U.S. gathered to pay their respects to the officer, who had been with Toronto police for 22 years and was a member of the service’s specialized motorcycle unit.
Some officers embraced each other and wiped away tears during a slideshow of photos from Hong’s wedding, holidays with family and time on the job smiling with his fellow police officers.
Jenny Hong and her daughter Mia shared memories of their loved one as a man with many interests whose greatest loves were his family and his career.
Mia remembered her father teaching her to drive and sharing photos from the events he worked as a police officer, and said his colleagues in the force were as close as family.
“We lost a hero,” she told the crowd. “You are grieving with us.”
Colleagues were at times overcome with emotion as they remembered Andrew Hong as a bright, infectious personality who brought humour and generosity to his work and acted as a mentor to many in his role training officers in the Toronto Police Service’s motorcycle unit.
Traffic Services Acting Supt. Matthew Moyerknew Hong for 12 years and said his friend and colleague “blossomed in his role” at traffic services, a “dream job” for Hong since he first joined the force.
“(Hong’s) infectious sense of humour brightened the lives of everyone who knew him,” he said.
Hong “went from strength to strength” at traffic services, said Moyer, who appeared to fight back tears as he described Hong’s love for his family and remembered jokes Hong recently made on the job.
Elected officials from all levels of government were spotted among the mourners. Some who did not know Hong personally made brief remarks to the crowd that emphasized the officer’s love for his police job and for his family.
Premier Doug Ford highlighted Hong’s time spent training “the next generation of officers” and pointed the size of the gathered crowd of mourners as a sign of his impact on others.
“I would ask that everyone look around at the number of people here paying respects to this great man and try to find some comfort in seeing the impact that he had and the legacy he leaves behind,” the premier said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory recalled meeting Hong by chance in the course of his duties.
“His warmth and his presence quickly told me who he was: a good person and a good cop,” Tory told the crowd.
The funeral for Hong began with bagpiper-led pallbearers bringing in his coffin, which was draped with a Canadian flag, before a Toronto police officer sang the national anthem for the crowd gathered at the Toronto Congress Centre. Photos of Hong with his motorcycle lit up screens, with wreaths laid underneath.
Hong was shot dead last week while on break at a Tim Hortons in Mississauga, in what police are calling an ambush attack. Another person was injured in the Mississauga shooting and police say the same suspect then shot three people at an auto body shop in Milton, Ont., killing two and injuring one, before being shot and killed by police in Hamilton.
In his funeral remarks, interim Toronto police chief James Ramer paid tribute to the other victims in the killing spree, the first responders and to the motorcycle officers who “refused to leave (Hong’s) side,” and the “perseverance of investigators to find the truth.”
The service got underway after a procession carrying Hong’s casket had driven through the city, with motorcycle officers accompanying a hearse along quiet Toronto streets.
Uniformed officers from several forces, including an estimated 3,000 members from police services outside Toronto, lined the procession route to pay respects. Police motorcycles, with representation from units in Halifax and Michigan, had filled the parking lot to greet the procession.
Hong began his policing career in 2000, moved to traffic services two years later and later started work in the Motor Squad in 2008, Toronto Police Services said.
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