A throng of people — many wearing red — waited to shake hands or hug RCMP officers today in Moncton before a memorial to three fallen Mounties was dismantled.
The day started with a ribbon of red winding its way past Codiac RCMP headquarters.
More than 7,000 runners and walkers turned out for 3KM for 3 Fathers, organizers said, an event in honour of the three RCMP officers who were gunned down on June 4.
Constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, Dave Joseph Ross and Douglas James Larche were shot to death. Two other officers were wounded.
Like many others, Elizabeth Davis wore red to show her support for the RCMP and the families of the slain officers.
"I can't even imagine, today being Father's Day, what they're going through," Davis said.
About 1,400 people had signed up for the event as of Thursday, but the crowd Sunday was so large that it took a while for everyone to get going.
Hugs and handshakes
Runners slowed down to shake hands, high-five or hug RCMP officers who were cheering from the sidelines.
"It's so moving, it's so incredible," said Supt. Marlene Snowman, the officer in charge of the Codiac detachment.
"They're thanking us," she said, "and what we're saying back is exactly the same thing."
For days after the shootings, a steady stream of mourners dropped off gifts of condolences outside the RCMP building. The mountain of flowers, teddy bears and handmade cards spilled out onto the sidewalk.
Dismantling the memorial
Bagpipers played as officers in red serge began to take apart the makeshift memorial.
RCMP say anything that can be preserved will be shared with the families of the officers. Three maple trees will be planted at the homes of the families of the three slain Mounties.
Staff Sgt. Richer Francoeur couldn't hold back his emotions as he picked up bouquets of flowers to take them inside.
One object staying put is a rock emblazoned with the words, "Moncton Stronger." Francoeur placed it on a bench.
"We'll come through this stronger," he said.
Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc says at some point a permanent memorial will be erected to honour the fallen officers.
Snowman expects to hear many ideas in the weeks and months to come.
Fundraising for families
In the meantime, fundraising continues for the families of the three slain Mounties. The $20 participation fee from Sunday's event will go towards the families, organizers said.
The RCMP has established the Moncton Fallen RCMP Members Fund. Donations are being accepted through the official fund website.
There's also a texting campaign, where people can text "Moncton" to the numbers 45678 and confirm a donation of $20.
Justin Bourque, 24, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.