John Boulanger was one of many Nelson residents to leave a candle lit Wednesday evening in memory of Cpl. Allan Young. The Abbotsford officer died following an altercation on Baker Street last week. Photo: John Boulanger

Nelson residents leave a light on to honour dead Abbotsford officer

Candles were left in windows to remember Const. Allan Young

Flickering candles appeared in windows across Nelson on Wednesday evening in memory of Const. Allan Young.

The community gesture was made after Young died in hospital Sunday from injuries sustained during an altercation downtown July 16.

Debbie Sabourin suggested in a Facebook post Wednesday that residents light candles for Young, which she said was inspired by Canadians leaving candles in their windows following the shootings in Nova Scotia that killed 22 people in April.

“It’s something that doesn’t happen in our little town of Nelson and I know a lot of people are feeling pretty devastated,” she said.

Nelson police said in a statement Young approached a 26-year-old man who was causing a disturbance on Baker Street. The alleged assailant, who has not been identified, was arrested and taken into custody, while Young was hospitalized in critical condition.

Sabourin, who has lived in Nelson for 20 years, said she was shocked by the incident and wanted to let Young’s family and friends know they have the city’s support. She considered organizing a vigil at city hall, but opted for the candle idea because of COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.

“It’s an easy way for people to show their support,” she said. “I know with COVID-19 people have been putting hearts in their windows and it just makes people feel good and know you’re not alone in your support.”

Young’s death came the same week as Nelson’s Supreme Court prepared to deliver verdicts on two previous acts of violence on Baker Street incidents.

A sentencing hearing began Monday for Miles Halverson, who has pled guilty to manslaughter in the 2018 death of Matt Reeder. That incident occurred on the same block Young was assaulted.

The trial of Fiona Coyle, who was charged with stabbing another woman on Baker Street in September 2019, also began Wednesday. Verdicts on Coyle and Halverson are expected Friday.

Sabourin said Thursday morning she was touched by the solidarity showed in Nelson for Young’s family.

“I was very happy just to see all the positive comments and people showing Abbotsford, the community and police department and his family, that we’re thinking of them and we’re really saddened by it.”

Related: Abbotsford officer remembered for sense of humour after dying in off-duty Nelson assault

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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