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'Gentle yet brave': Family remembers slain Burnaby Mountie Shaelyn Yang

A statement from the family says Burnaby RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang 'brought with her laughter and joy wherever she went.'
Const. Shaelyn Yang died on Oct. 18.

Slain Burnaby RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang loved her career as a Mountie and seemed to have been preparing for it her whole life, according to her family.

“At five years old, she started training in Taekwondo and, later on, she took up Kendo and Brazilian Jiujitsu,” read a statement from the family released Thursday afternoon. “Through volunteering as an RCMP victim services worker, Shaelyn was inspired to become a member of the RCMP. After intense training at the RCMP Depot Academy, her dream came true and she was sworn in as an RCMP officer. Shaelyn was so proud of her uniform.”

Yang, 31, died on Oct. 18 while responding to a call at a transient camp at Broadview Park off Canada Way.

She had accompanied a City of Burnaby parks employee who was delivering an eviction notice to a man in a tent.

An altercation ensued during which Yang was fatally stabbed.

“She made the ultimate sacrifice to this work that she loved,” read her family’s statement. “This is extremely heartbreaking; she devoted her life to helping others, which is something she strived for, and we are so proud.”

The statement described Yang as a “gentle yet brave, compassionate yet courageous” person with a gift of supporting and empowering others.

Yang was born in Taiwan but came to Canada at a young age and was raised and educated in the Greater Vancouver area, according to the statement.

“She was fond of the land where she grew up and was very involved in her community as it shaped her upbringing,” the statement said.

Yang's family said they will not be participating in any media interviews but thanked extended family, friends and the public for their condolences and expressed gratitude to the RCMP for its support

A regimental funeral for Yang is planned for Wednesday (Nov. 2) at 11 a.m. at the Olympic Oval in Richmond.

Burnaby resident Jongwon Ham, 37, has been charged with first-degree murder in Yang’s death.

His next court date is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor