Alberta mayors describe impact of RCMP shootings on communities

Former Mayerthorpe, Alta. Albert Schalm and current St. Paul, Alta. mayor Glenn Anderson speak about the road to recovery for their communities following RCMP shootings.

'When something like this happens it devastates the entire community,' says St. Paul mayor

While police in Moncton, N.B. continue to search for Justin Bourque, the man who allegedly shot five RCMP officers Wednesday night – killing three – reaction has been pouring in across the country.

In Alberta, the events of last night bring back memories of two other RCMP shootings that left four officers dead and injured several others.

Albert Schalm was the mayor in Mayerthorpe, Alta. in 2005 when four RCMP officers were killed in an ambush by James Roszko, who later killed himself.

The bodies of RCMP constables Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann were found on Roszko's property near Mayerthorpe on March 3, 2005.

Roszko gunned down the four officers while they were guarding a Quonset hut on his property outside of Mayerthorpe, Alta.
“I guess your first thought is why is this happening again? This shouldn’t even have happened the first time,” said Schalm early Thursday morning.

“This isn’t something that any community should have to go through -- and now we’re going through it again. My heart goes out to Moncton and all the residents and certainly to all the police officers in Moncton. This is devastating.”

Schalm said he hoped for a swift resolution to the manhunt currently underway in Moncton, allowing life to go back to normal, however he added, “[For] some families, obviously, life has totally changed.”

“That will never be the same, and I think that was the experience that we had here. Life eventually got back to normal for our community. It took some time, it took some healing,” he said.

Schalm said his thoughts were with the families and friends of those killed and injured in Moncton. He had only one piece of advice to offer.

“Give your spouse a hug and your kids a hug this morning when you get up, and life will get back to normal. But it will never be the same again.”

Listen to Schalm's full interview on CBC's Edmonton AM

St. Paul RCMP involved in shoot-out

Meanwhile, St. Paul mayor Glenn Anderson said that community is still dealing with last month’s shootout that sent three RCMP officers to hospital.

The gunman involved in that incident, John Carlos Quadros, also took his own life.

Two of the injured officers have since been released from hospital. The third injured officer was transferred to Edmonton where she currently remains with serious but non-life threatening injuries after being pinned in her vehicle after Quadros rammed into it with his truck.

The shooting in St. Paul, Alta. has the gunman dead and three RCMP officers wounded. (Supplied/Mike Vanderhoek)

“You can't explain [how] these people put their lives on the line everyday and people don't realize it,” said Anderson when asked how St. Paul was dealing with the aftermath of the shooting.

“And I think this is just bringing to the forefront how important these people are to each community.”

Anderson said RCMP officers are typically posted to a community for at least four years, giving them time to know people, build friendships and coach kids’ sports teams.

Asked whether he saw any relationship between the shootings in Moncton, Mayerthorpe and St. Paul, he said the only commonality was how difficult it is for the community.

“When something like this happens it devastates the entire community and its going to take the community pulling together to work through it,” he said.

“In these last cases, the RCMP are at the forefront of all of these incidents and I don’t think the Canadian public can accept that much longer.

Reaction to Moncton shooting pouring in

Speaking from Belgium where he is attending the G7 Summit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his deepest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of the victims in Moncton.

He said the incident serves as a reminder of the way those in law enforcement put their lives on the line daily to protect Canadian citizens.

In Edmonton, Mayor Don Iveson had this to say:

He was joined in the sentiment by Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the families of the three killed RCMP officers and those recovering as well,” added Capt. Dave Testa with the Edmonton-based 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

The Edmonton Oilers have also sent out a Tweet about the shooting.