After RCMP officers were shot in Moncton on Wednesday, those in the locked-down area waited in hiding as photos emerged of the suspect, Justin Bourque, carrying formidable guns through their neighbourhood.

The rifle Bourque was carrying has been identified by firearms experts as an M-305, a civilian semi-automatic based on the United States Army M-14.

For many, the question that came to mind was where he could have come across such a gun.

Moncton shooting

The manhunt for Justin Bourque, the 24-year-old suspect, ended overnight Friday. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

One of New Brunswick’s biggest gun dealers, who did not want to be interviewed out of respect for grieving families, said Bourque’s gun is not difficult to obtain in Moncton.

The M-305 rifle was introduced during the Vietnam War and has high accuracy at long range.

The model available today is made in China, called the Norinco M-305 or M14S. It fires 7.62-millimetre ammunition, the same size as a Winchester .308 calibre. 

The gun dealer who spoke with the CBC said the Winchester .308 calibre is very popular among big game hunters in New Brunswick because it has enough power to bring down a moose.

He said he has no semi-automatics in stock like the M-305, but he could order one.

Bourque had friends who worked at a survivalist gun store called World's End Warehouse.

Other friends contacted by CBC News said the firearms Bourque was seen carrying were bought at another Moncton store called Better Buy Sports on Mountain Road.

Three RCMP officers were killed and two others wounded in the shooting Wednesday night. Police have not released information about the weapon or weapons used.

Bourque was arrested overnight Friday. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He is expected to return to court in July.