Tuesday 21 October 2014

Police shooting suspect arrested

Published 06/06/2014 | 03:57

A heavily armed man that police have identified as Justin Bourque walks on Hildegard Drive in Moncton, New Brunswick
Police check a home in Moncton, New Brunswick, during the search for the killer of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers (AP/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

A man wanted over the killing of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been arrested unarmed, ending a massive manhunt that paralysed much of an eastern Canadian city.

A witness said that 24-year-old Justin Bourque told officers at the time of his arrest: "I'm done."

Police received a tip that led them to a wooded residential part of Moncton, New Brunswick, where they found Bourque, who is suspected of carrying out the deadliest attack on the ranks of Canada's national police force in nearly a decade.

Bourque was allegedly armed with high-powered rifles and had been spotted three times on Thursday, eluding the massive manhunt that all but shut down the normally tranquil city about of about 60,000 people east of the Maine border.

Nearly 300 police officers were involved in the search for Bourque, who was seen going in and out of a wooded area.

RCMP Supt Marlene Snowman said Bourque was arrested in a wooded Moncton area at 12.10am without incident. She said he had no weapons on his person, but they were found nearby. Charges will be brought later Friday.

Michelle Thibodeau said she saw the man arrested in the front yard of her home and heard him say: "I'm done," before his arrest by armed officers.

Roger Brown, commanding officer of RCMP in New Brunswick, choked back tears as he addressed the media.

"Fortunately, most people will never have to experience what our officers have gone through in the last two days," he said.

"I can't dig deep enough to explain the sadness that we all feel."

Mr Brown identified the dead as Constables David Ross, 32, originally of Victoriaville, Quebec; Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, originally of Boulogne-Billancourt in France; and Douglas James Larche, of Saint John, New Brunswick.

"It's been a very challenging 30 hours for the officers that got this job done," Supt Snowman said. "It will take some time to heal, but together we will get there."

Supt Snowman and other RCMP officials did not release any more details about Bourque's arrest or the circumstances of the shooting, citing their ongoing investigation. Details will be made public in court, she said.

Police have not spoken about a possible motive for the shootings.

Residents of Bourque's trailer park said he was a quiet, seemingly reclusive man who shared a small, worn trailer with a roommate. Neighbors described him as a withdrawn gun collector and avid hunter of birds, deer and moose.

During the manhunt, police asked residents of the city's northwest section to remain indoors with their doors locked and exterior lights on to help the search.

Much of Moncton, including its popular city centre, was completely shut down. Some businesses placed signs in windows saying they were closed because of the manhunt.

Police commandeered armoured trucks. The city took its buses off the roads and closed schools and government offices. Mail delivery was suspended.

Dozens of police officers patrolled the search area with their weapons drawn. Others, including members of a tactical unit, patrolled streets within the cordoned off area.

Police used air support, tactical teams and canine units. Several hundred officers from New Brunswick and elsewhere from across Canada were involved.

Bourque was pictured wearing military camouflage and carrying two rifles in a picture released by police on Twitter.

Two other Mounties who were injured in the shooting are recovering and doing well, police said.

Gun violence is rare in eastern Canada. This was the deadliest attack on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since four officers were killed by a gunman on a farm in the western Canadian province of Alberta in 2005.

That attack remains the deadliest on Canadian police officers in 120 years.

Canada's Parliament observed a moment of silence and the flag on Parliament Hill flew at half-mast.

Press Association

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