New Brunswick

Witnesses crouched on floor as bullets flew during deadly Fredericton shooting

CBC News has heard multiple eyewitness accounts of the Friday morning that left four dead, including two police officers, injured others.

'I saw 3 dead bodies. It’s nothing I want to think of right now'

'It was horrible'

4 years ago
Duration 2:09
A north Fredericton resident describes his terror at seeing shots fired toward his building, passing close to his son's bedroom.

Mojdava and Parisa Motallebikia awoke Friday morning to the sound of gunfire outside their north Fredericton apartment. There were two shots at first and then another five, they say.

The couple from Iran, who have lived in the Brookside Drive apartment complex for half a year, peered through the window to investigate. They saw a man in a building opposite them, and he yelled something in their direction.

Then he opened fire.

"Our windows broke and the bullets passed from the wall and go to my son's bed," said Parisa Motallebikia.

"Then we lie on the bed on the floor and there we took, I took my family outside of the building, and it was horrible," Mojdava said.

The couple said they heard more shots as they scrambled to safety in a nearby Tim Hortons.

Holes can be seen in a window at Brookside Drive apartment complex where the shooting occurred. (Submitted by John Gibbons)

It's just one of many dramatic accounts that eyewitnesses gave CBC News on Friday after a shooting that left four dead, including two Fredericton police officers, and injured others.

Information about other people injured and their conditions has not been provided.

Area residents gather outside after the lockdown was lifted. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC)

Police say a suspect is in custody and is being treated for "serious injuries."

Justin McLean said he, too, woke to gunshots and went to the window of his apartment. He could see the bodies of the two officers and another individual outside.

McLean said he tried to help officers lift a body into the armoured vehicle outside the complex, but police took him to the same Tim Hortons where others had found refuge.

Resident Justin McLean describes how he tried to help officers retrieve bodies of shot officers:

'I woke up and heard gun shots,' witness says of Fredericton shooting

4 years ago
Duration 8:47
A witness describes being awoken by gunshots near his home in Fredericton

It was a sight he won't soon forget.

"I saw three dead bodies," McLean said. "It's nothing I want to think of right now."

Justin Mclean said he woke up to the sound of gunshots, looked outside and saw three of the four slain victims. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

'This is a quiet town'

The shooting has rocked the community. There's been an outpouring of social media posts pleading for information, offering condolences and expressing shock and grief.

"This is a quiet town," said Pierre Huard. "Nothing like this happens here. It's quite shocking actually."

Brandon Ingraham, who stayed inside with his wife during the shooting, said there was no mistaking the sound that rang out in the morning air.

"When you heard the gunshots there was no question of, 'Was that a dump truck lid closing?'" he said.

"It was gunshots."

'Just bang, bang, bang, bang'

John Gibbons, who lives in a building adjacent to where the shots were fired, said he heard the first around 7 a.m. AT. 

"Just as I was finishing up in my bedroom, I was headed to the bathroom and I could hear someone say, 'Get down, so and so.' And then I heard four rapid shots. Just bang, bang, bang, bang."

Listen to John Gibbons recount his harrowing ordeal to As It Happens:

‘I was on the floor of my apartment’

4 years ago
Duration 5:08
A resident who lives near the scene of the Fredericton shooting describes hearing gunshots outside his bedroom window and taking cover.

Gibbons said there was a swarm of police officers and SWAT team members at the apartment complex, which is a cluster of four similar buildings. What appeared to be tear gas was fired into a window, he said.

"Yeah, it was tear gas because, I don't know, I'd say 15, 20 minutes later, you'd look out and you could see the smoke come out of the apartment," Gibbons said.

He said he could also see holes in the apartment window.

The police presence on Brookside Drive in Fredericton grew as the morning went on after the shooting. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Trapped on the floor

The Brookside Drive area from Main Street to Ring Road was on lockdown for about four hours until it was lifted around 11 a.m., and David MacCoubrey spent much of that time on his apartment floor.

MacCoubrey said he heard three shots shortly after 7 a.m. followed by several more in the following hour.

"Then it went downhill for about 20 minutes," he said. "There was no shots so I felt a little bit safer. Five more shots went off, and there were two more shots, when I believe they took down the suspect."

Some witnesses said they heard gunfire until about 8:30 a.m.

Police confirmed on Twitter at 9:45 a.m. that a suspect was in custody.

MacCoubrey said he didn't look out his window, except to take a quick peek. The initial shots sounded like they were coming from right under his bedroom window.

"I don't know if I can say this on here, but I said, 'That son of a bitch comes in here, I'm going to kill him.' Sorry. That's what I was thinking."

David MacCoubrey said he waited anxiously for shots outside his building to die down Friday morning:

With files Harry Forestell, Catherine Harrop, Nathalie Sturgeon and Shane Fowler