'It can happen anywhere': Moncton marks 5th anniversary of RCMP shootings
The city remembers Constables Douglas Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan who were killed on duty
June 4 is a day most people in Moncton won't forget.
In 2014, RCMP Constables Doug Larche, 40, Dave Ross, 32, and Fabrice Gevaudan, 45, were shot and killed by a gunman in the city's north end.
Two other officers, Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were injured.
Assistant Commissioner Larry Tremblay, New Brunswick RCMP's commanding officer, is marking the fifth anniversary with a written op-ed.
"There are days when they seem so close, when the grief and loss seem as fresh as that terrible day. Other days it feels as though it's been so long without them, so long since we were all changed and redefine by the experiences of June 4, 2014," he wrote.
Tremblay said every officer and frontline specialist who answered the call that night demonstrated professionalism.
He said no one will forget the fear and loss of that day, but praised the community for the way it united.
"You went out of your way to show us that our loss was also yours, and that you knew and we're grateful for how our officers put public safety above their own," Tremblay wrote.
He said people emerged from their homes in the early morning hours after the shootings and 30-hour manhunt with thank-you signs.
Porch lights were lit in the city and beyond.
What started as a few flowers laid at the doorstep of the Codiac RCMP detachment quickly turned into a community memorial.
"There were so many flowers, balloons, cards and pictures drawn by children that they blocked out the steps and the lawn. All carried the same simple message—Thank You," he wrote.
Five years after the tragic events, Tremblay said the community still gives strength to the police force.
He said people only need to look at the Honour Garden monument in Riverfront Park to see the community pride.
The bronze sculptures of the three fallen officers by Newfoundland artist Morgan MacDonald include many personal touches.
"It's an effort to help remind those who visit that these men were not just exemplary police officers, but also devoted husbands, fathers and community members," Tremblay wrote.
Community will never forget
People in Moncton say they'll never forget that horrific day five years ago.
"It still shocks me," said Gerry Morrissey. "I guess we don't expect it in Canada but it can happen anywhere, really … It's just really sad for the community and for the families."
Since the shootings, Dana Jones, says she feels a lot less safe in the city.
"I still, of course, remember what happened … it was a terrible, terrible thing."
A recent report by the Auditor General of Canada suggests not all RCMP officers in the country have access to the equipment they needed to respond to an active shooter situation.
"What you would hope would come out of something like that is that you could be more prepared next time that happens so I hope they're working towards that," said Jennifer McMullen, a Moncton resident.
"I know that they have been and I'm guessing there's still more to do but I hope they don't lose sight of that."
Thilo Joerger, from Sackville, said the Moncton tragedy is one of the worst things that's ever happened in the area.
"The only thing we would probably like to hope for is that the police get equipped the way they were supposed to be equipped. I guess that's not quite happening yet," he said.
Honouring the fallen officers
Tremblay said people will have another opportunity to support the fallen members in a few weeks at the Three Fathers Memorial Run on Father's Day.
"The run, in memory of Doug, Dave and Fabrice, is another way we keep them with us and keep their families in our thoughts and prayers," wrote Tremblay.
He asked that people remember the legacy of the three officers, and to look out for each other to help keep the community safe.
With files from Michèle Brideau