Large parts of Moncton, New Brunswick, remained under virtual siege nearly a day after a young man in camouflage gear and carrying two military-style rifles with high capacity magazines, a bow and a knife was first spotted brazenly roaming through back gardens and along pavements.
Shocked residents dived for cover in their homes when the gunman, identified by officials as a Justin Bourque, a 24-year-old local with a fascination with weapons, opened fire on police on Wednesday evening and then calmly walked off.
Three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were killed and two wounded in the shoot-out in a rampage that has shocked the country. Bourque, who was educated at home by devout Christian parents, recently quit his job in a grocery store and was living in a trailer park.
He once told a former colleague that he "wanted to go out with a bang and bring people with him".
His Facebook page was filled with anti-police, anti-government, pro-gun and pro-hunting statements.
As soldiers from a local army base joined the massive police hunt, the suspect was spotted three times yesterday, but eluded searchers. "He is very mobile and still considered very dangerous. Armed and dangerous," said Roger Brown, spokesman for the RCMP.
Locals who knew Bourque described him as a loner with a history of making ominous threats and clashing with authority, but said they never imagined that he was capable of such violence.
Investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting, the deadliest attack on the RCMP in nearly a decade.