New Brunswick

Justin Bourque's sentencing in Moncton hears victim impact statements

A Moncton, N.B., courtroom heard chilling radio recordings of the night that Justin Bourque fatally shot three RCMP officers and wounded two others.

Moncton Mountie killer faces 3 1st-degree murder and 2 attempted murder charges

Justin Bourque, 24, was driven to the Moncton Law Courts building in the summer in a sheriff's van with a police vehicle following closely behind. Bourque's sentencing hearing started in Moncton today. (CBC)

A Moncton, N.B., courtroom heard chilling radio recordings today of the night that Justin Bourque fatally shot three RCMP officers and wounded two others.

The recordings were played during the first day of Bourque's sentencing hearing. Bourque is in the courtroom listening to the events.

The audio of RCMP officers who were searching for Bourque provided a glimpse into the chaos unfolding on June 4 in the north-end Moncton neighbourhood.

Const. Darlene Goguen arrived at the scene of the shootings at 7:59 p.m., when Bourque opened fire on her vehicle.

The courtroom heard Goguen's immediate reaction: “I’m shot. I’m shot in the head.… I’m shot twice. I’m shot in the right arm, somebody help me.”

Twenty-three seconds after Goguen was shot, Const. Éric Stéphane J. Dubois arrived, and he was also shot.

Const. Donnie Robertson found Goguen slouched over in her car with the windows smashed. Robertson shifted her car into drive and told her to go.

The court then heard that Const. Doug Larche arrived in plainclothes, but wearing body armour and carrying a rifle.

At 16 Mailhot Ave., witnesses were banging on a window trying to warn Larche before Bourque shot him.

A witness said Bourque looked “accomplished” after shooting Larche.

Robert Vautour, a witness, said he heard Bourque say, “Bring me more cops!"

The court also heard that a 911 caller said Bourque told her, "Don't worry, I'm not out to kill civilians. I'm only after government officials."

Bourque pleaded guilty in August to three charges of first-degree murder and two charges of attempted murder after shooting five RCMP officers.

During the morning session of the sentencing hearing, the Moncton court began hearing a time line from the evening of June 4, including comments from Bourque and audio recordings of 911 calls and from RCMP officers.

The court heard that Bourque hated his job and called a co-worker a "pig lover" and said it was "now time to pop a couple." 

Bourque also said he initially wanted to set gas stations on fire and shoot people in an attempt to hurt the oil industry.

Bourque was spotted by residents walking down the street carrying guns and a knife. The first 911 call came in at 7:18 p.m. AT.

A woman told the 911 dispatcher that "he's dressed army-wise" and the caller said he had a rifle with "pretty big bullets."

'Our lives are shattered'

Earlier Monday morning, the courtroom heard the victim impact statements from family members of the slain officers, Const. Doug LarcheConst. Dave Ross and ConstFabrice Gevaudan.  

Rachael Ross said in a videotaped statement that she has been in "survival mode" since she lost her husband.

      1 of 0
      She told the court how her husband was "ripped away" from their family. 

      "I felt I could face anything with him by my side. We truly loved each other," she said.

      "Our lives are shattered."

      Nadine Larche also offered an emotional statement, which was prerecorded.

      She described how he is already missing so many important events, such as their oldest daughter's first dance.

      "Now I'm raising three girls on my own. Solo parenting was not the plan," she said.

      "I wish we could bring you back. We love you to the moon."

      The wives of the three slain officers issued a statement on Monday morning.

      "We are aware that a lot of information will be presented in court today and tomorrow regarding specific details about the incident and those involved," the statement said.

      Three absolutely brilliant fathers were taken from their children just for doing their jobs.- Const. Robert Nickerson

      "We hope the members of the media will choose to continue to focus their reports on the people of our community, including emergency services personnel, who really came together, and continue to work hard to keep us all safe. We believe it is important to give attention to people who choose to do good."

      Larche, Ross and Angela Gevaudan said they would not be giving media interviews.

      Const. Robert Nickerson, who saw the shooting and performed CPR on one of his fallen colleagues, also submitted a victim impact statement. 

      Nickerson said his son asked what happened on the night of June 4.

      "I told him dad lost three good friends. Three absolutely brilliant fathers were taken from their children just for doing their jobs."

      Earlier in the morning, the Crown prosecutor submitted a list of exhibits that will be introduced and estimated it would take a day and a half to get through the hearing.

      Bourque's statement to police will also be played in the courtroom, and the court will hear 911 calls from neighbours during the shooting spree.

      As well, a psychiatric report that was previously under a publication ban will be released. 

      The Crown prosecutor said some of the evidence that will be shown during the hearing may be considered disturbing.

      He said there are 56,000 pages connected to the investigation and included 9,000 images. It involved 970 officers.

      The Crown prosecutor said Bourque deliberately targeted the police officers on June 4. 

      The high-profile sentencing hearing brought out a large crowd of spectators on Monday morning.

      The Moncton courtroom had to set up an overflow room for people who wanted to listen to the hearing.

      New sentencing law

      Chief Justice David Smith will be determining Bourque’s sentence.

      The Crown gave notice in August that it will seek three consecutive life terms, which could mean no chance of parole for 75 years for Bourque.

      On Monday, the Crown prosecutor reiterated that demand, while he said the defence would argue for a lighter sentence.

      Bourque, who was 24 at the time of the killings, would be 99 years of age before becoming eligible for parole, if he were given three consecutive life sentences.

      Until 2011, the maximum sentence a multiple killer could be given in Canada was life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

      In 2011, however, the federal government passed a new law that allows judges to sentence offenders consecutively when convicted of more than one murder.

      The first case in which the law was used in sentencing was in 2013, when Travis Baumgartner received a 40-year sentence for killing three of his security company co-workers during a robbery.