WATCH ABOVE: Justin Bourque is facing murder and attempted murder charges after Wednesday’s shooting spree in Moncton. Jennifer Tryon speaks to those who know the suspect.
Even though friends said the 24-year-old always wanted to join the military, at some point he developed a harsh dislike for police and authority.
“He obviously had one thing in mind, and that was to have anger at the cops, he had no issues with anyone here at this park,” said Kerry Fitzpatrick, who is a friend and neighbour of Bourque’s in Marsh’s trailer park in Moncton.
“Otherwise, he would have just opened up fire with anyone walking down the street. But he didn’t. He obviously had one intention and that was with the cops. And whatever that problem was he was going to deal with it.”
Fitzpatrick said he wouldn’t have considered the Bourque capable of committing such a crime.
“People don’t understand that he didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” he told Global News’s Jennifer Tryon Friday morning, following his arrest. “If I needed money for food, for the kids, he’d gladly hand it over and say ‘No problem, man… pay me back whenever you got it.'”
WATCH (below): A longtime friend of Justin Bourque shares details about the suspected shooting suspect.
Another friend of the accused RCMP killer described Bourque, who was taken into custody just after 12 a.m. AT Friday following a 31-hour manhunt, as having grown up with a big family and “great” parents, but saw change in him over time and some of those friendships drifted apart.
“I just noticed some changes in him, like just acting very strange and odd… and the things he would say and post on his Facebook,” said one female friend, who asked not to be identified. “Then the whole guns and rifles and all that started to kinda worry me. So, I just started to kinda distance myself from him for a while.”
She also described an obsession Bourque had with another girl, someone they were both friends with, as one of the reasons she stopped speaking with him sometime last summer.
The friend, speaking to Global News’ Jenmifer Tryon Thursday evening, hours before the arrest, said she hadn’t seen Bourque for about six months, until she ran into him at a convenience store last Sunday.
Bourque had just lost a job at the Salvation Army and his car, but like others who have spoken to Bourque, she didn’t see any signs of what was to come.
She said Bourque had mental health issues, explaining he said he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He’s not a bad person. He’s just sick. It’s sad. It’s very sad that he has to go out and do this,” she said.
The friend of eight years said she is having a hard time wrapping her head around the horrific crime Bourque is alleged to have committed.
But, she believes Bourque “was planning” the shooting spree he’s accused of committing and she said it’s likely he wanted the attention he got from the rampage and the subsequent manhunt.
“He’d always joke around about how, ‘you know if I ever go, I want to go out with a big bang.'” she recalled. “I never took that seriously.”
Police spent 31 straight hours searching for Bourque after Wednesday night’s attack in the area of Hildegard Street and Ryan Road.
Three officers were shot dead and two others were wounded.
“I don’t know why he doesn’t like authority so much,” she said. “I think he’s always wanted to just carry his guns with him anywhere he goes and be able to use them when he wants… . This is not the way to do it.”
A wide area of Moncton was under lockdown from Wednesday night until the early hours of Friday morning, as police conducted an aggressive manhunt for him. Bourque was taken into custody and brought to Moncton courthouse later Friday afternoon, where he was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
He’s been remanded in police custody until his next appearance.
“He deserves what’s coming to him,” his friend said. “I’m sorry, but he really does.”
With files from Jennifer Tryon.