Mourners exit the funeral home following the funeral for slain peace officer Rod Lazenby at Park Memorial in Edmonton on Monday, August 20, 2012. Lazenby was shot and killed on August 10 in Priddis while responding to a dog complaint. Trevor Kloschinsky has been charged with first degree murder.
Credits: Codie McLachlan/QMI AGENCY
EDMONTON -- Dozens of family and friends of a fallen peace officer gathered for a memorial service in Edmonton Monday -- the same day his accused killer appeared in court.
A private memorial was held for Rod Lazenby, who was killed Aug. 10 in a deadly assault during an investigation of a dog complaint on a ranch in Priddis, Alta., west of Calgary.
Lazenby's wife, Lolita Rocheleau-Lazenby, was clearly upset as she carried out a small box believed to contain her husband's ashes and placing it in a waiting hearse.
His cousin, Dale Erickson, lingered outside the Park Memorial funeral home before heading out to the grave site in Sherwood Park.
Erickson said the pair were pretty close growing up and he's trying to come to terms with the sudden death.
"I'm taking it hard. We were awful close. He was a wonderful man, who would do anything for anybody," he said.
"He worked in the Mounties, worked undercover, always a risky job. But he had to go this way."
An unarmed Lazenby confronted a man who police have now charged with first-degree murder for allegedly attacking the 35-year RCMP veteran, and then driving the dying officer to a Calgary police station to complain.
Lazenby's wife has said more manpower could have saved her husband's life.
Others have called for peace officers to have access to firearms. As a Level 2 peace officer, he would not have been carrying a baton or pepper spray as Level 1 officers do.
Erickson agreed that policy needs to be reviewed, but was unsure if it would have helped his cousin.
"After him being in the Mounties for so long, I don't know why they wouldn't allow him to have a gun," he said.
"But maybe a gun wouldn't have helped him anyway."
Alberta's solicitor general has said that changes cannot be made to the policy until the RCMP completes a full investigation of Lazenby's death.
The owner of the ranch, Trevor Kloschinsky, 46, is charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of Lazenby.
He appeared via closed-circuit television during his first appearance in provincial court Monday.
Kloschinsky is expected to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, which Erickson says is disappointing.
"The guy is going through a psychiatrist and he'll probably be out in like three years. That's rough. I hate it. Shouldn't be allowed."