KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A retired RCMP officer who once stopped a mentally ill man after he’d killed three Mounties has died.
John White died at Royal Inland Hospital this week at age 80.
In 2002, White, who was known as Jack, co-authored a book called “Honoured in Places: Remembered Mounties Across Canada.”
Retired officer Gerry McRae said White and his wife Helen drove around western Canada visiting graveyards and building a database about RCMP members and that some of the information they collected was included in the book.
“He was a very mild-mannered person to look at and to talk to. But he had a lot of stuff inside him,” McRae said
When White retired after 35 years with the force, he was the contract policing officer for B.C., and his rank was chief superintendent.
He was awarded two commendations: the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery for his efforts in hunting down a man who killed three RCMP officers in Peterson Creek in 1962, and a Commanding Officers Commendation in 1968 for his tenacity in the murder investigation of a woman in the Vancouver area.
White became known in the Kamloops area when he shot dead cop killer George Booth.
Booth had shot and killed constables Don Weisgerber, E. Joseph Keck and Gordon Pedersen. At the time, they were the entire day shift for the city force.
White heard an officer had been shot in the lower part of a park, so he and two other officers headed to the top to head off Booth.
En route, they stopped to get their hunting rifles because they were only issued snub-nosed revolvers and .303 Lee-Enfields.
Booth appeared suddenly and took three shots at White before the officer returned fire. He killed Booth with one shot.
White spoke about the incident in 2005 after four officers were shot to death in Mayerthorpe, Alta., by James Roszko.
White said all RCMP officers share a brotherhood because of the risks they face on the job.
“It has impact. It’s like the loss of a member of your family,” he said at the time.
Bob Fergusson knew White for years, first as his boss and later as a co-member of the RCMP Veterans’ Association.
“There was nothing loud about Jack at all. He was a thinker, he was a man’s man,” he said.
“He was very well respected. I respected him an awful lot. He was a very knowledgeable policeman and an excellent investigator, so I’ve been told. Although when I knew him, he was my boss.”
The two used to go for coffee regularly. They’d talk about the old days, usually the funny stuff but sometimes the sadder memories, Fergusson said.
“Jack was the same as me. He would have done the whole thing over again. He spent in excess of 35 years on the force.”
“He’s going to be missed.”
White leaves behind his wife, Helen, and two sons, John and Bryant. (Kamloops Daily News)