As a young Toronto constable, Andrew Hong would lead his new wife, Jenny, to police events and point to a group of officers. Those cops, Hong told him, were an elite groupâa special group of motorcycle officers known as the Winged Wheels. She knew he was wanted in his club.
It was no secret. Early in his 22-year career with the Toronto Police, Hong told everyone that it was his dream to work in the traffic services division of the force. He was “a man on a mission,” acting superintendent. Matthew Moyer said Wednesday, and it took only a few years for that dream to come true.
Better yet, he was soon in the motor squadâthe crew with whom he would learn and later teach others to ride a motorcycle of their choice; He sometimes marveled at the fact that he was paid to ride one.
“Whenever he came home his eyes flashed like lights and sirens,” Jenny Hong told a sea of ââher husband’s bereaved colleagues, who had gathered inside Etobicoke’s Toronto Congress Center to honor him. “So I knew he was happy there.”
Hong, 48, died in the line of duty on September 12, one of three men shot by a lone gunman who went on a shooting rampage in Mississauga and Milton, before being shot and killed by police in Hamilton. Earlier In uniform, Hong was shot at close range by the shooter, Sean Petrie, and died inside a Mississauga Tim Hortons, his colleague. Investigators say Petrie may have been targeting one police officer in particular.
Hong, as it became clear in a series of tributes on Wednesday, spent his final day doing what he loved. He was instructing a motorcycle operating course, what Jenny saw was giving him a “new sense of energy”. In particular, he had offered to buy coffee for his colleagues.
“Being an instructor was where he was,” said Jenny, dressed in a black dress surrounded by a string of pearls. “He was really good at it. He really enjoyed helping others.”
Hong “cared for the people he loved,” his daughter Mia said in an emotional tribute, which pacified a crowd of thousands, including officials and dignitaries. It was a eulogy he would be proud to see – “He would be in the front row, recording me on his phone, sitting with my family where I was sitting, with a big smile on his face,” said Mia .
The teenager thanked the members of her father’s beloved motor unit, the officers who guarded her outside her house and those who made her funeral arrangements. The grief over the death of his father, she said, was shared. “You are the one he came to work every day to see and I know you are sad with us.”