Man accused in B.C. police officer’s death appears in Abbotsford court

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — A man charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a British Columbia police officer appeared for the first time in court on Tuesday.

Oscar Arfmann, 65, of Alberta, is charged in the death of Abbotsford Const. John Davidson, who died Nov. 6 after responding to a report of shots fired at members of the public.

Arfmann, who has a beard and grey shoulder-length hair, appeared in court wearing a prison-issued red jumpsuit. He did not speak in court.

His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 12.

Arfmann has not yet entered a plea. His lawyer, Simon Buck, declined to speak outside court.

Arfmann’s family issued a statement earlier this month saying he “was never really the same” after his wife died five years ago. It says Arfmann was admitted to hospital in St. Paul, a town northeast of Edmonton, in July 2015 for a mental health evaluation, but he was released three days later.

Abbotsford police Chief Bob Rich has said officers were called about a possible stolen vehicle in a parking lot of a shopping complex on Nov. 6.

The caller hemmed in the vehicle while waiting for police to arrive, but a suspect emerged and began shooting at the caller and others, he said.

When police officers arrived, there was an exchange of gunfire and Davidson was critically injured before being pronounced dead in hospital, Rich said. The suspect fled but was arrested at a nearby intersection, he said.

Davidson, a 53-year-old father of three adult children, was remembered for his dedication to his community and sense of humour at a recent memorial service.

Rick Young, who identified himself as a friend of Davidson, said outside court he was a kind man who cared deeply about his family and friends.

“His wife and the family, they’ve lost a very special man,” he said.

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