Dagenais charged in RCMP killings

Curtis Dagenais appeared in a North Battleford, Sask. courtroom Wednesday and was formally charged with first-degree murder, in connection with the deaths of two RCMP officers.

Curtis Dagenaisappeared in a North Battleford, Sask., courtroomWednesday andwas formally chargedwith first-degree murder inthe shooting deaths of two RCMP officers.

Dagenais is accused of shooting Const. Robin Cameron, 29, and Const. Marc Bourdages, 26, near Mildred, about 140 kilometres west of Prince Albert, as they chased him after responding to a domestic dispute in Spiritwood.

Bourdages and Cameron, who were both shot in the head, died on Sunday. Shots were also allegedly fired at a third officer who was not injured in the incident.

Dagenais, 41,will remain in custody and is expected to appear in court again next month.

Farm couple convinced fugitive to surrender

Hesurrendered Tuesday at the urging of a Saskatchewan farm couple. Armand and Rosanne Smithsay they fed Dagenais and persuaded him not to kill himself before helping him surrender to face charges of killing two RCMP officers.

The Smithsspottedthe fugitiveTuesday as he hid in their hayfield just outside the RCMP search area, around the farming community of Mildred.

"He came to the truck and we started talking and we talked and talked and talked until we convinced him that [surrendering] was the best thing," Armand Smith said.

"He talked about doing himself in and we said 'no,' and 'that's probably not the right way to do it,' and that's about all we did.

"We certainly don't know whether it was the right thing to do, but it worked out," Smith added.

Suspecttold he could turn his life around

Smith said he and his wife also convinced Dagenais that he could still turn his life around if he turned himself in and served his time.

"He talked about family and he talked about what he did. He knew, he knew that he had done something really wrong," said Smith.

"He just would go over things and over things and over things and we I guess heard him out and we kept, I guess, level heads and tried to convince him to turn himself in."

Rosanne Smith made Dagenais a sandwich and a cup of coffee before the couple accompanied him to the RCMP detachment in Spiritwood, Sask. at 4 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

Relief at news of arrest

People who live in Mildred, the community closest to the site of the July 7 shootings, said they were relieved to hear of the arrest.

The father of one of the slain RCMP officers said he was comforted to have some sense of closure before the burial of his daughter.

"A big sigh of relief came, knowing that this suspect was in custody and that no other people in Spiritwood or surrounding communities were in danger," said Howard Cameron.

RCMP Sgt. Brian Jones dismissed suggestions that the Mounties would have preferred to have captured Dagenais.

"I think we were all surprised but at the same time pleased that that's the way it had turned out," said Jones. "It had been our objective right from the start that he be located and either surrender or be arrested safely, and so regardless of how it happened, the fact that it did happen was good news for everyone."

The RCMP had initially begun an extensive hunt for the suspect in the rough country around Spiritwood, but it was not successful and they later scaled it back.

Dagenais was treated in hospital for a minor injury, and was in custody in Spiritwood.

Officials said there will continue to be an investigation in the Mildred area as the RCMP wind down the search efforts.

Father of accused remanded in custody

Arthur Dagenais, the father of the accused, also appeared in a North Battlefield court on Wednesday on charges of obstruction of justice.

Police allege that Dagenais, 69, disobeyed orders to stay clear of a police search zone. Officials also charge that they found two rifles and $27,000 in a locked combine on his property.

The elder Dagenais was remanded in custody until his Dec. 5 preliminary hearing.