The search for a heavily armed suspect who allegedly killed three RCMP officers and wounded two others in a Moncton, N.B. shooting rampage, ended early Friday morning when police confirmed suspect Justin Bourque was arrested at 12:10 a.m. local time.
Global’s Natasha Pace was at Codiac RCMP headquarters in Moncton where an officer told her Bourque had been arrested.
The Telegraph-Journal reported Bourque was arrested on Mecca Drive, not far from the scene of Wednesday evening’s shooting.
“Multiple police officers were seen celebrating the news in the north end of Moncton,” the Telegraph-Journal reported.
Moncton resident Michelle Thibodeau, 21, said she saw the arrest unfold firsthand, and posted her account of events on Twitter:
— UP! 93.1 News (@UP931News) June 6, 2014
“They started yelling, ‘Come out with your hands up!’ and they had their guns loaded,” said Thibodeau.
“About five minutes later, Justin surrendered himself and he said, ‘I’m done,’ and then they arrested him and brought him to my frontyard where they had him sprawled on the ground.”
Police in Moncton said residents in the north end of the city are now free to leave their homes.
Colin Slaunwhite, 24, said his mother was frantic because he had not been able to return home until Friday morning after playing hockey Wednesday.
“Relief. A whole bag full of emotions,” Slaunwhite said after he learned he could return home.
“It is going to take a while for the adrenalin to completely run out and everybody tries to comprehend what happened.”
Police said in a Thursday afternoon press conference that one officer remains in hospital and the other has been released, but did not disclose the identities of the officers, including the three killed.
But late Thursday, the National Post identified one of the officers fatally shot as Const. Dave Ross, a police services dog handler with the RCMP.
The newspaper quoted the sister-in-law of the man’s wife as saying he had a young son, with another child expected in September.
“These two little guys, or girl — we don’t know yet what it is going to be — will never know their dad,” Raquel Vander Ploeg told the newspaper. “This is the kind of nightmare that you never wake up from.”
Cpl. Chantal Farrah emphasized residents in the north area of the city should remain inside and lock their doors Thursday afternoon, when the search for Bourque, a man in his twenties, continued into the evening. Farrah reiterated police instructions to avoid posting details about officer location on social media.
“We will continue to give you information when we do have; please keep following us,” said Farrah, referring to the RCMPNB Twitter account.
“The suspected shooter was last seen at approximately 8 a.m. on June 5 in the Gorge/Mountain Road area,” said superintendent Marlene Snowman in a Thursday statement.
More than a dozen officers surrounded an apartment complex earlier Thursday afternoon, sent a robot inside, and entered the building. Minutes later they removed the robot and exited without any sign of a suspect, and police said the clue that lead them to the location turned out to be false.
“This is not even close to being a typical day in New Brunswick, Moncton or even in Canada,” said New Brunswick RCMP Commanding Officer Roger Brown earlier Thursday morning.
“This is working through your worst nightmare.”
“As you can all imagine, they’re hurting,” said Brown. “There’s actually no way to describe the level of hurt.”
Mayor George LeBlanc said his city has always been a special community and that if it can happen in Moncton, “it can happen anywhere.”
RCMP said police officers from across the country, including special teams, had been brought in to help arrest the suspect.
RCMP tweeted a map of a large portion of the city where people were asked to remain inside with their doors locked on Thursday.
Roadblocks were set up in the area and schools were closed. The city also pulled its buses off the roads and Canada Post cancelled delivery.
Bourque allegedly carried high-powered rifles, a crossbow and knife as he roamed the north end of Moncton.
A photo from the Moncton Times and Transcript showed a heavily armed man wearing army fatigues.
Another photo of the man from behind was posted by a user on Twitter.
— Patrick Hemsworth (@PatHemsworth) June 5, 2014
“We are professionals. We will ensure the security of the public. We are going to do that,” said Codiac RCMP spokesperson Const. Damien Theriault, who later broke down in tears at a media briefing with the city’s mayor when he was asked how officers were balancing their grief and the difficult task of searching for the suspect.
READ MORE: Moncton residents describe police raid
The Horizon Health Network, a provincial health authority, said on its Twitter feed that two patients were taken to the Moncton Hospital with gunshot wounds.
Horizon Health CEO John McGarry told reporters the hospital went into Code Orange at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and the facility was put on lockdown.
“[Code Oranges] are not just basic trauma,” he explained. “They are mass casualties expected.”
The lockdown would remain in place as long as needed, McGarry added. Code Orange was lifted at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
He estimated many dozen staff, possibly as many as 100, were on duty to deal with the situation.
The shootings in Moncton also brought back memories of an RCMP tragedy in Mayerthorpe, Alta., on March 3, 2005, when Constables Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, Lionide (Leo) Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol and Peter Christopher Schiemann were shot and killed. The suspect was also found dead on the property.
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With files from Global News reporters Nick Logan, Erika Tucker, Irene Ogrodnik, Adam Frisk and The Canadian Press
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