Tributes are pouring in for a corporal from New Westminster who died after a training exercise on Friday at an army base in Alberta.
Among those expressing their condolences are the B.C. Premier, the federal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The soldier, 29-year-old Cpl. James Choi, was a member of the Royal Westminster Regiment.
Cpl. Choi had been participating in a live-fire training exercise, but suffered a gunshot wound and was treated at the scene and then taken to a hospital where he later died.
Sajjan took to Twitter expressing remorse.
“A death in the Canadian Forces is felt by all members of the national defence team (and) all Canadians,” reads his post.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Cpl. James Choi (and) his colleagues in the Royal Westminster Regiment in these difficult times. We’ll be here for you in your grief,” concludes Sajjan’s statment.
A death in the @CanadianForces is felt by all members of the @nationaldefence team & all Canadians. I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Cpl James Choi & his colleagues in the Royal Westminster Regiment in these difficult times. We’ll be here for you in your grief. pic.twitter.com/TxQHscvy4T— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) November 1, 2020
Wainwright, Alberta, is located approximately two hours east of Edmonton. The live-fire training that was underway at the time of the incident was suspended and an investigation is now underway.
According to a statement from National Defence, Cpl. Choi joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2016 and was a trained infantry soldier.
“At the time of the incident, Cpl. Choi had augmented 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry for a Fall continuation training exercise that focuses on core light infantry skills,” the statement continues.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed his sympathies.
“Our hearts go out to (the soldier’s) loved ones,” reads Trudeau’s tweet in part.
My deepest condolences to Corporal James Choi’s family, friends, and @CanadianForces colleagues. As you mourn this tragic loss, know that we are here for you. We will never forget Corporal Choi’s service and sacrifice. https://t.co/NhUQnmoMml— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 1, 2020
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff released a statement mourning the soldier’s death.
“He represented Canada with honour, dedicating himself to his profession. We grieve alongside his family, friends and comrades,” it reads.
B.C.'s Premier John Horgan also made a statement via Twitter, thanking Cpl. Choi for his "service and sacrifice," and sending his best to the corporal's friends, family and colleagues.