MONCTON, New Brunswick — Moncton slipped out of a tense fear and into mourning overnight with the arrest of a man suspected of killing three police officers and wounding two others.
‘I’m done,” suspect Justin Bourque yelled as he gave up, a nearby resident who watched the 24-year-old’s arrest through a window told CBC.
He was unarmed, although police did find weapons nearby, said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintendent Marlene Snowman, the officer in charge of the agency’s Codiac office.
At a Friday morning news conference, authorities offered no explanation for the rampage. Charges were being prepared and would be filed later in the day, Snowman said.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, commanding officer of the agency’s New Brunswick division, identified the slain officers as Constables David Ross, 32, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, and Douglas James Larche, 40.
“On Wednesday night, we lost three incredible members of our organization, and I can’t dig deep enough to explain the sadness that we all feel,” Brown said, his voice breaking at times.
Shortly after Bourque’s arrest, barricades tumbled as residents on lockdown since the shooting slowly gathered on the streets.
“It’s hard to imagine that we can go back and turn the page without having a sense of the great loss we’ve suffered,” Mayor George Leblanc of Moncton told CTV.
“Moncton is such a beautiful, warm community … I know this community has a tremendous spirit, and we will get through this.”
Arrested in a backyard
Michelle Thibodeau told CBC that the suspect was captured near her home in Moncton.
“There were trucks going by really slowly as well as cop cars surrounding my house, so we knew they were looking directly around my house,” she said. “Suddenly, one of the SWAT trucks stopped and unloaded officers, and they proceeded to go to my backyard.”
While there, they yelled for the suspect to surrender. He was hiding behind a row of trees, Thibodeau said.
“They were screaming for about five minutes and they had their guns loaded. And eventually Justin came out with his hands up and he yelled, ‘I’m done.’ And they collected him and brought him to my front yard, where he lay sprawled out. “
Police surveyed her yard for weapons before taking him away, she told CBC.
“My heart dropped in my stomach. We were all shaking and panicky. It was a very scary situation.”
Her parents, brother, his girlfriend and a dog all watched the scene unfold from a window.
At the time of his arrest, the suspect was wearing the same camouflage uniform shown in the pictures, according to Thibodeau.
The only difference was his hair was “dripping wet,” she said.
Last social media post?
A Facebook page purported to belong to Bourque has many posts with pro-gun photos and a few anti-police memes.
There is also a photo where two men pose with shotguns in the snow. It was posted on February 25, six days after the Facebook page was created, and is used as the profile picture.
In what appears to be his final post, the page’s author used the words of a song by the metal group Megadeath.
You say you’ve got the answers, well who asked you anyway?
Ever think maybe it was meant to be this way?
Don’t try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come.
I believe my kingdom will come.
Moncton has 140,000 people and is 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Saint John.
“It’s a lot. Especially for a city like this, where you wouldn’t expect something to happen like this,” resident Jonathan Hurshman told CTV. “You see it all in the States, and you think, ‘No, that could never happen here’ — and sure enough, it happens here.”
There were no homicides in Moncton in 2011 and 2012, and the average number of homicides per year between 2006 and 2011 was one.
In 2012, the homicide rate in Canada was 1.6 per 100,000. In the United States, it was 4.7 per 100,000, according to United Nations statistics.