2014 Moncton shootings
|2014 Moncton shootings|
Map showing the "lockdown" area of Moncton following the shootings.
|Location||Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada|
|Date||June 4, 2014
June 6, 2014
7:18 p.m.–12:10 a.m. (UTC-3)
|Weapons||Norinco M305 (.308)
Mossberg 500 SPX
|Deaths||3 RCMP officers
Fabrice Georges Gevaudan
Douglas James Larche
|2 RCMP officers|
The 2014 Moncton shootings were a string of shootings that took place on June 4, 2014, in Moncton, New Brunswick. Justin Bourque, a 24-year-old from Moncton, shot five officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), killing three and severely injuring two. A manhunt for Bourque was launched and continued overnight and into June 5. On June 6, Bourque was found and taken into custody, ending a manhunt that lasted over 28 hours. The shooting was the deadliest attack on the RCMP since the Mayerthorpe tragedy in 2005 that left four RCMP officers dead, and also Moncton's first homicide since 2010.
At around 6:00 p.m. on June 4, 2014, Bourque purchased three boxes of ammunition in the presence of a friend, who did not find it unusual since the two of them planned to go to a shooting range. During the late hours of that same day, Bourque left his rented home, dressed in camouflage and carrying a rifle, a shotgun, and a crossbow. He calmly walked down a road in his trailer park, passing several neighbours along the way.
At 7:18 p.m. ADT, the first 9-1-1 call was made to police about an armed man walking down the sidewalk. When RCMP officers responded to the scene, Bourque first opened fire at 7:46 p.m. Cst. Fabrice Gevaudan was hit twice in the torso and dragged into a nearby ditch by other officers, where CPR was attempted, but the officers' efforts were unsuccessful and Gevaudan died. Bourque then fired four to seven shots into the windshield of a police sports utility vehicle ridden by Cst. David Ross, who was fatally wounded, but not before he fired two shots from his service weapon to defend himself. At 7:59 a.m., Cst. Darlene Goguen arrived at the scene of the shooting in her police vehicle, whereupon she was fired upon while still seated inside and hit twice. Seconds after Goguen's shooting, Cst. Éric Stéphane J. Dubois responded and was wounded as well. Goguen was able to flee from the immediate vicinity with the help of Cst. Donnie Robertson. At 8:04 p.m., Cst. Douglas Larche, who was plain-clothed but also wearing body armor, responded to the shootings and exchanged gunfire with Bourque, who concealed himself behind several trees. Nearby residents tried to warn Larche about Bourque, but he was shot in the neck as he tried to take cover behind his car. Bourque then fled the scene at 8:13 p.m.
Late on June 4, it was reported that three RCMP officers were killed, while two other officers were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. According to witnesses, Bourque spotted and even spoke to several civilians while lying in wait, and left without shooting at them. Other witnesses reported that he actually waved away civilians when they tried helping the officers. The New York Times reported that television footage showed "several cars and police vehicles with bullet holes and shattered windows". The Northwest area of Moncton was locked down while the search for the shooter was in progress; public buses were pulled from the streets, and all entrances to the locked-down area were sealed.
Authorities named Bourque as the suspect. Multiple sightings of the suspect, by police and the public, continued in the second day of the manhunt. Up to 300 police personnel were involved in the search. Pedestrians and motorists were asked to stay away from the area of the search; public transit was suspended; and schools, government offices, stores, and businesses were closed. Residents were later instructed to lock their doors, leave their exterior lights on, and refrain from broadcasting police movements on social media sites.
The next day, police surrounded an apartment building and were broadcasting a demand to exit over a public address system. More than a dozen armed officers surrounded the building and deployed a robot with a camera inside at approximately 3:00 p.m. Minutes later, they left the apartment complex after finding no sign of Bourque. The report that called police over to the building later turned out to be a false alarm. A police helicopter with thermal-imaging cameras was searching Moncton. At least two armored cars were borrowed by the mounted police to transport heavily armed tactical team members.
On June 6, at 12:10 a.m. (Atlantic Daylight Time), Bourque was arrested by the RCMP after a resident found him in a yard on Mecca Drive and called police. The lock-down, in effect for approximately 28 hours in the North End of Moncton, was lifted shortly thereafter. While being taken into custody, he reportedly told police, "I'm done." He was unarmed during the time of his arrest, but several weapons were found at the scene. On June 7, a search was launched at a field and a wooded area located near the scene of Bourque's arrest.
Three RCMP officers were killed in the shootings and another two injured. All five shooting victims were identified by police two days after the shootings. The fatalities were identified as Cst. David Ross, 32, of Victoriaville, Quebec; Cst. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, of Boulogne-Billancourt, France; and Cst. Douglas James Larche, 40, of Saint John, New Brunswick. The two surviving officers were identified as Cst. Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Cst. Marie Darlene Goguen. On August 11, the causes of death were released in an agreed statement of facts filed by the Moncton Queen's Bench. David Ross died from a gunshot wound to the head, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan died of two gunshot wounds to the chest, and Douglas James Larche died after being shot in the head and left flank.
Justin Christien Bourque, a 24-year-old resident of Moncton, was named by authorities as a suspect in the shootings. During the shooting incident, Bourque was dressed in military camouflage and wore a brown headband. His motives remain unclear. He had recently quit his job working at a local grocery store and had just been hired by the distribution warehouse Rolly's Wholesale Ltd., according to a company official. He also reportedly held anti-government and anti-authority views, a fascination with conspiracy theories, and talked about killing other people and himself. Two days before the shooting, Bourque made rants against all figures of authority to his father, during which he was described as becoming "paranoid".
Bourque was born as one of seven children in a religious family and was home-schooled. Eighteen months prior to the shooting, he moved out of his parents' home and into a trailer park in Moncton's Ryder Park neighbourhood. He had been forced to move out on his parents' request following a dispute over his purchase of a second firearm and his "inappropriate behavior". A former coworker said that "He's always seemed to have a problem with authority. Issues with parents, bosses, police..." The media has reported that his social media contains anti-police posts as well. A post added to his Facebook page the day of the shooting contains a photo with a quote from Dave Chappelle, "You ever notice a cop will pull you over for a light out, but if your car is broke down they drive right past you?". He also tended to share images with slogans such as "Free Men Do Not Ask Permission to Bear Arms" and "Militia Is Only a Bad Word if You're a Tyrant".
The media reported that Bourque's Facebook account was filled with images and "occasionally jokey posts about the right to bear arms". The day after the shooting, a local firearm and outdoor supply store, Worlds End Warehouse, issued a statement on their Facebook page, confirming that Bourque was known personally by employees of the store but that he "was never a customer and never purchased firearms or ammunition from [them]". One of Bourque's friends described an incident where Bourque had gone camping with several colleagues and brought "his rifle with him, without ammunition, which he held onto the whole night while drinking. That kind of freaked us out, so we didn't invite him the next time". It remains unclear if anyone had previously reported safety concerns related to Bourque's firearm possession but local police stated that he "was not known to them". In Canada, individuals who are concerned about the mental state or intentions of a firearms owner can notify the Canadian Firearms Program so that police can investigate.
In his Facebook page, he also posted his beliefs that Canada was "too soft" to survive an impending attack, once writing in response to the 86th Academy Awards:
Three weeks after that post, he also warned that: "Canada is one of the world's most likely targets Russia would invade at the start of a war due to pushover resistance." A few hours prior to the shooting, Bourque posted lyrics from "Hook in Mouth", a song by American thrash metal band Megadeth.
After his arrest, Bourque admitted responsibility to the shootings and claimed that he committed them in an attempt to spark a rebellion against the Canadian government, which he believed was oppressive, corrupt, and serving only the wealthy at the expense of other citizens. He also claimed that he originally planned to harm the oil industry by setting fire to several Moncton gas stations and then shoot random people, but abandoned the plan due to issues with his bicycle. He purchased the .308 Norinco M305 used in the shootings on July 24, 2009, and had a valid firearms certificate for the rifle.
Soon after his arrest, Bourque made his first court appearance at a Moncton courthouse under heavy guard. He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. On July 3, Bourque briefly reappeared in a Moncton provincial court. He made his next court appearance on July 31 after undergoing a psychiatric assessment requested by his lawyer. He was found fit to stand trial. On August 8, Bourque entered guilty pleas to the three counts of first-degree murder and also the two counts of attempted murder. His sentencing was set for October 27, though it was later postponed to October 31. He faces a life sentence in prison with a parole ineligibility period of between 25 and 75 years; in the latter case, Bourque would first be eligible for parole when he is 99. It was considered the harshest sentence in Canada since its last executions in 1962. On October 27, he apologized to the families of the slain RCMP officers. On October 31, he was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 75 years.
RCMP and Canadian government
In the wake of the shooting, the New Brunswick Premier David Alward issued a statement, saying that he felt "incredible grief" from the killings, and offered condolences to the families of the slain officers. Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, commanding officer of the New Brunswick RCMP, called June 4 "perhaps the darkest day in the history of RCMP New Brunswick". Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said in a statement on Twitter, "Terrible sad news for Moncton. Stay indoors and allow police to do their job. Prayers for the families." The House of Commons observed a moment of silence prior to question period the day after the initial shooting.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also issued a statement, saying, "On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of those affected by this tragedy. We also offer our prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured." He also remarked that this incident reminds us that "men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line in Canada every day to protect our citizens and communities". RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson released a statement regarding the three slain officers, saying, "Their deaths are beyond comprehension. Their ultimate sacrifices will never be forgotten."
An internal review was announced by the RCMP on June 9 to investigate whether the five officers shot were adequately armed and protected to deal with Bourque, who was armed with high-powered firearms, and how to prevent a similar incident from occurring. The review was later ordered on July 3. However, the decision for an internal review was criticized, with many calling for an independent inquiry. Among the critics was Darryl Davies, a criminologist from Carleton University, who had made a report for the RCMP in 2009 about the Mayerthorpe tragedy which left four RCMP officers dead; the report recommended officers be immediately given training and equipped with high-powered firearms. Davies alleged that his report was ignored by the RCMP and believes that an internal review will not result in long-term changes, saying, "I think an internal inquiry is not going to be transparent, number one — that's why we need a public inquiry."
A Canadian gun rights advocacy organization, the National Firearms Association, released a statement following the shooting, offering their condolences and deploring the incident. They also claimed: "Incidents like these demonstrate...that none of Canada's firearms control efforts over the past 50 years have had any effect on preventing violence, or otherwise stopping bad people from carrying out their evil deeds... The excessive rules in place do not in any way increase pu blic [sic] safety, but merely contribute to an expensive and unnecessary regime which harms only those of lawful intent." The executive director of the Canadian Sport Shooting Association felt that the NFA statement was premature and that, instead of gun control, this incident should lead to discussions about "mental health issues." The NFA stood by their statement, claiming that they were responding to the calls for tighter gun control that people on social media and in the government were making.
A gun control organization, the Coalition for Gun Control, felt the incident was too recent to begin discussing changes. At the same time, a prominent member of the group published an op-ed piece calling for stringent gun control in response to the shooting. Among other things, he called for the re-classification of semi-automatic rifles as prohibited, the restoration of the Long Gun Registry and "[a]n absolute ban on urban gun collecting..."
On social media, the hashtag #PrayforMoncton began trending. In response to the shootings, the RCMP created an e-mail for the public to send in their condolences, and the RCMP Foundation set up a fund to donate money to the families of the slain and injured officers. A regimental funeral was held on June 10 at the Moncton Coliseum, with close to 3,000 police officers and many other mourners in attendance.
- Canadian Firearms Registry
- Gun politics in Canada
- Mayerthorpe tragedy, a similar incident that occurred in 2005
- 2014 shootings at Parliament Hill, Ottawa
|Wikinews has related news: Three police officers dead in Moncton, New Brunswick shooting|
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