Publication ban lifted on details about Fredericton shooting that killed 4
A New Brunswick judge has lifted a publication ban on court documents containing details about the Fredericton shooting that killed four people, including that the alleged gunman who opened fire from his apartment with a long-gun was wounded in the abdomen as he traded bullets with an officer.
The horrific shooting, which spanned just over two hours at a complex in the city’s north end, killed civilians Bobbie Lee Wright and Donnie Robichaud along with police officers Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns.
The previously reported details about the tragedy and how police responded are laid out in a Prosecutor’s Information Sheet filed by police. The information can now be released following a decision Friday morning by Justice Judy Clendening to lift a ban that was imposed Monday.
WATCH: Fredericton shooting suspect’s co-workers recall his temper, outbursts.
Clendening said the investigating RCMP officer acknowledged the police document attached to the basic information filed was an “oversight,” and it was “unfortunate” that it became public.
The ruling comes after a media consortium including Global News filed an application to lift the ban and injunction on information contained in the document as it does not present any threat to the prosecution and is of public interest.
WATCH: Lawyer representing media says there was a ‘lack of evidence’ for publication ban
David Coles, a lawyer for the CBC and representing the media consortium, said there was no evidence to necessitate a publication ban.
“I think the court did what it had to do,” Coles said. “If you’re going to interfere with someone’s freedom of expression rights, which are constitutionally guaranteed, you need to have evidence of a compelling necessity for doing so. There just wasn’t such evidence in this case.”
On Aug. 10 at around 7:20 a.m., Fredericton police responded to a complaint of shots fired at 237 Brookside Dr.
WATCH: Accused Fredericton gunman described as ‘lonely’
Costello and Burns were the first to arrive at the scene, followed closely by Sgt. Jason Forward, according to the document. Costello and Burns went into the driveway at Brookside Drive, while Forward stopped to question a person on the street.
“Sgt. Forward then heard a couple more gunshots so he proceeded to drive in back of building C,” the document says. “Once there he noticed Constables Costello and Burns lying on the ground not moving. He also noticed another male on the ground and not moving, beside Const. Costello.”
The officer was told by a male witness that the shooting was coming from the top floor of the apartment block. Forward, along with another officer who arrived on scene, identified as Cst. Fox, then entered the building and set up containment on the top floor before confirming the shooter was in Apartment 11-C.
“Cst. Forward advised responding [Fredericton police officers] that if the shooter presents himself to the window they should engage him,” the document reads.
One of the officers, described in the documents as Const. Arbeau, fired at the shooter after he had pointed his long gun at him while he was in the window.
“Const. Arbeau believed he had hit the shooter in the torso,” the document says.
Shortly after members of the Fredericton Police Force Emergency Response Team entered the apartment and took the suspect, who identified himself as Matthew Vincent Raymond, 48, into custody around 9:35 a.m. He was taken to the intensive care unit at Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital for surgery for “gunshot wounds to the abdomen.”
He was remanded to the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre, according to documents.
Police found “items believed to be firearm(s) and ammunition” inside the apartment. Police confirmed Monday the long gun believed to have been used in the attack is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon.
“It’s a firearm that can be purchased here in Canada and the suspect does have a licence,” Deputy Chief Martin Gaudet told reporters at a news conference Monday.
“It’s a shouldered weapon – a long gun.”
All four victims were found near the vehicle, according to the police document. The vehicle’s windshield had been blown out in the hail of bullets.
Police say Costello, Robichaud and Wright were pronounced dead at the scene while Burns was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A memorial outside police headquarters in Fredericton has grown as mourners have laid flowers, notes and teddy bears as the shaken community continued to grapple with the tragedy.
Robichaud, 42, was a local musician and described as a loyal friend, a good husband, and loving father of three. He had recently started a relationship with Wright, 32.
Costello, 45, leaves behind a partner and four children and was 20-year veteran of the force who loved to serve his community. Burns, 43, leaves behind a husband and three sons. It wasn’t until the age of age of 35 that she decided to chase her lifelong dream of becoming a police officer.
Meanwhile, details have begun to emerge about the alleged gunman who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. He is set to appear in court on Aug. 27.
A Fredericton business owner who knew Raymond described him as a person who gave “everyone” anxiety whenever he came into the room.
Greg Bradford, the owner of Key Cycle, a bicycle repair shop close to where the shootings happened, told Global News that he believes Raymond had anger issues.
“I had a hard time with him in my shop,” Bradford said, adding the he was even threatened once. “He threatened me, ‘If you tell anyone I’m shooting out in the woods, I’ll fight you.’”
Others friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered a varying portrait of the shooter, described as a lonely person who loved first-person shooter video games, but who could also be a pleasant co-worker.
Brendan Doyle, the former owner of the recently closed Read’s Newsstand and Cafe in Fredericton, told the Canadian Press he asked Raymond to stop frequenting his coffee shop after he allegedly expressed Islamophobic views and shared his dislike for Syrian refugees with patrons.
“He’d been coming in almost daily for a coffee since 2010 and often stayed for an hour or two on the patio in the evenings,” Doyle said in a Facebook message Sunday evening to The Canadian Press. “While in the cafe, Matt also looked at magazines about bikes and about guns.”
Jim Whelan, who worked with Raymond at an Atlantic Superstore in Fredericton about eight years ago, said he had generally found Raymond to be a pleasant co-worker who came into work smiling.
“I’m shocked. I don’t know what happened. You wonder what is going on,” Whelan said.
Chief Leanne Fitch has said that while people want answers to a senseless tragedy that has taken four lives, the police investigation is ongoing and is “focused on finding facts.”
“I understand that there is a desire to find out what happened. We all want to know that,” Fitch said. “But you have to understand that some of that will only be released through the court process.”
A regimental funeral “to celebrate the lives” of the fallen Fredericton officers will be held on Saturday at the Aitken University Centre at the University of New Brunswick. Global News will livestream the memorial, starting at 12 ET, 1 p.m. AT.
With files from Ross Lord, Alexander Quon and the Canadian Press
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.