(Canadian OH&S News) — A 24-year-old man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder following the shooting of five RCMP officers in Moncton, N.B. on June 4.
Justin Bourque was charged after a massive manhunt, which resulted in his early morning capture on June 6. The Moncton resident was arrested without incident in a wooded area near the intersection of Wheeler Boulevard and Mountain Road at about 12:10 a.m., nearly 30 hours after police received reports of a man walking through north Moncton armed with a rifle and other weapons. An RCMP spokesperson confirmed that Bourque surrendered without incident and while police recovered weapons nearby, he was unarmed at the time of his arrest.
The incident unfolded on the evening of June 4, after police received the initial calls. While responding to the complaints, three Codiac Regional RCMP officers were shot and killed; two other officers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Over the next day-and-a-half, Bourque was spotted at least twice, but eluded police. Several hundred police officers from New Brunswick and other provinces were involved in the search.
“It has been perhaps the darkest day in the history of the New Brunswick RCMP,” Roger Brown, the Assistant Commissioner and Commanding Officer of the provincial RCMP, said in a statement on June 5. “I met with the members’ families this morning and there is nothing to describe the pain that they are going through. Fortunately, most people will never have to experience what our officers have gone through and their resilience is truly remarkable.”
After Bourque was captured, the RCMP identified the deceased officers as Constables Fabrice Gevaudan, Dave Ross and Douglas Larche. Gevaudan, 45, was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, in the western suburbs of Paris, France and joined the RCMP in Regina after receiving his Canadian citizenship. Upon graduating from the RCMP training academy in Feb. 2008, he was posted to the RCMP’s Codiac detachment, where he worked in general duty policing, the RCMP said in a profile.
Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que. joined the RCMP in Ottawa and graduated from the training academy in July 2007. He was posted to the New Brunswick division, where we worked in general duty policing and, most recently, as a police dog services handler.
Larche, 40, from Saint John, joined the RCMP in Moncton after his graduation in Feb. 2002. Larche worked in highway patrol and general duty policing at the Codiac detachment and was an investigator with the detachment’s general investigation section/major crime unit. The profile added that in 2008, Larche received a commendation for saving the life of an unconscious baby in Moncton.
“This is a trying time for our members as we have lost three of our own and two more are hospitalized,” Brown said in the statement. “I commend our members for their dedication and professionalism as they were able to stay focused on the task at hand and getting results throughout this ordeal, bringing the situation to a quick end.”
For Rae Banwarie, president of the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, “a long and dark shadow has been cast across the entire policing family in Canada. There are incredibly strong bonds in law enforcement,” Banwarie said, adding that “when officers lose their lives, it has an immense emotional impact on others. It’s like losing a member of the family.”
An RCMP regimental funeral and police parade was held on June 10. Bourque will appear back in court on July 3.