Wednesday marked four years since New Brunswick’s capital city was rattled by a mass shooting that claimed four lives.
On Aug. 10, 2018, a gunman shot and killed civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie-Lee Wright, along with Fredericton Police Force constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, outside an apartment complex in the city’s north side.
Robichaud and Wright, who had recently started dating, were packing up their car in the apartment’s parking lot when they were killed by the shooter, who fired at the victims from an elevated position with a long gun.
Burns and Costello were the first officers to respond to the scene on Brookside Drive, and were shot as they rushed to help Robichaud and Wright. The constables have been regarded as heroes who made the “ultimate sacrifice.”
In 2020, the shooter was found not criminally responsible due to his mental illness.
In a statement, Fredericton police chief Roger Brown said the community of Fredericton “continues to teach us the value of caring for one another, and what it means to give and support each other in times of need.”
Brown, who was not the police chief at the time of the shooting, said from the early days of the city’s collective grief to the first anniversary and the gunman’s “very public trial,” the integrity and kindness shown by the people of Fredericton was “nothing short of extraordinary.”
“Reflecting back over the past four years, one thing that I am sure is that Frederictonians are resilient,” said Brown.
“They have shown perseverance in the face of tragedy and have remained steadfast as they endured the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The people of this city have never given up on each other, and always step up when needed.”
Brown said reflection and remembrance looks different for everyone, and “we need to respect that everyone grieves and heals differently.”
“Whatever way you choose to mark this day, do it with pride and let it be the platform to move forward with kindness and gratitude for this community and the wonderful citizens who call it home,” he said.
The shooting is one of three mass killing events that have shaken the normally tranquil Maritimes.
In 2014, a shooter in Moncton, N.B., killed three RCMP officers and injured two.
Then in April of 2020, a gunman in Nova Scotia killed 22 people and injured three — the deadliest such rampage in Canadian history.
— with files from The Canadian Press