WATCH ABOVE: An outpouring of emotion in Moncton today to honour the victims of last year’s tragic shooting, but as Shelley Steeves reports, questions remain if more could have been done to prevent the tragedy.
It’s been one year since Justin Bourque killed three RCMP officers and injured two others during his shooting rampage in Moncton.
The New Brunswick city marked the first anniversary of the shooting Thursday by unveiling a memorial to the murdered officers – Constables Doug Larche, Dave Ross, and Fabrice Gevaudan.
“To a degree, it shattered our perception of our community as being idyllic and as being the perfect place to be,” Mayor George LeBlanc during Thursday’s ceremony.
Bourque’s in prison, serving 75 years before being eligible for parole, but the ripple effects of his shooting are still reverberating in Moncton and across the country.
‘It’s something that replays in my head all the time’
The governing body of the Codiac RCMP, where the three RCMP officers worked, recently confirmed that at least 20 members – roughly 15 per cent of the detachment – have requested transfers since last year’s shooting.
But Terry McKee, who retired from the Codiac RCMP two years ago, told Global News he has “very good information that it’s actually more than 20 members.”
WATCH: Some Moncton Mounties struggling one year later. Ross Lord reports.
The shooting has left its mark on the neighbourhood as well. Nadege Bujold watched Bourque murder one of the officers from the front window of her home shortly 8:07 p.m. on an otherwise quiet June evening.
“That memory stayed there – you know, you can see him just pointing and shooting,” she said.
And Vanessa Bernatchez, the young woman who filmed the shooting of Constable Larche on her cell phone camera, said she has been vilified for the video, which was viewed hundreds of thousands of times and used by media outlets across Canada.
“It’s something that replays in my head all the time. Even like certain sounds will trigger it for me,” she said. “I have a hard time sleeping. I’m up until 4 in the morning every day.”
WATCH: Moncton residents will remember three RCMP officers who were killed and two others were wounded a year ago tomorrow. Global’s Brion Robinson looks at how it has changed the city.
RCMP facing four charges
The RCMP faced intense criticism following the shooting, as people both inside and outside the RCMP questioned whether the law enforcement agency was fit to deal with a shooting spree like Bourque’s.
A five-month 16×9 investigation, Under Fire, raised questions about officer training and equipment prior to the shooting.
Two of the specific complaints raised by RCMP officers interviewed by 16×9 were the lack of carbine rifles and inadequate training.
The four charges, brought against the RCMP under the Canada Labour Code, relate to the safety and training of the officers responding to the shooting.
The first charge alleges the RCMP failed “to provide RCMP members with appropriate use of force equipment and related user training.”
RCMP officers who spoke to 16×9 said they were at a drastic disadvantage due to a lack of semi-automatic carbines which started rolling out to RCMP detachments officially in 2011. But by June, 2014 only six were at the Codiac detachment and all, at the time of the shooting, were being used in a training exercise.
The second charge alleges the RCMP failed to provide members with “appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure their health and safety when responding to an active threat or active shooter.”
The 16×9 investigation found only 59 per cent of the RCMP officers in Moncton had completed active shooter training.
The third charge alleges the RCMP failed “to provide RCMP supervisory personnel with appropriate information, instruction, and/or training to ensure the health and safety of RCMP members when responding to an active threat or active shooter.”
The fourth charge accuses the RCMP broadly of failing to “ensure the health and safety at work of every person employed by it.”
The RCMP is set to face the charges on July 9 and if convicted, could face up to $1 million in fines for each charge and up to two years in prison.
‘Asking that Commissioner Paulson resign’
In the wake of the charges being levied against the RCMP, the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada told Global News it was asking for Commissioner Bob Paulson to step down.
“Our association is actually asking that commissioner Paulson resign over this entire incident and hopefully he takes some other senior executives with him. This has been an absolutely debacle.”