New Brunswick

Fredericton man accused in shootings was 'recluse' addicted to video games, friend says

Fredericton residents who know Matthew Vincent Raymond, 48, are grappling with the fact Raymond has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

Fredericton residents who know Matthew Vincent Raymond, 48, are grappling with allegations

Matthew Vincent Raymond, middle, in the 1988 Fredericton High School yearbook. (Submitted)

Alleged Fredericton gunman Matthew Vincent Raymond was a "recluse" who rode his bike everywhere and was obsessed with playing video games, according to two people who knew him.

According to one friend, Raymond may have also developed a temper.

Stephen Carter, who says he has known Raymond since he was 12 years old, says he only felt afraid around Raymond once, when he allegedly threatened to harm Carter's two Siamese cats.

"Get them from this room 'cause I might kill them," he says Raymond told him.

"He had a look about his face that I opted to get up from my chair and push the cat into another room so that the cat didn't come in," Carter said.

Still, Carter has a hard time imagining where Raymond would have gotten a gun.

Police said Monday the gun was legally obtained and Raymond had a licence.

"It's just hard for me to fathom," Carter said.

"And I get emotional because it should never have happened. He needed help somewhere that somebody didn't recognize and he didn't seek."

Raymond has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two Fredericton police officers, Const. Robb Costello, 45, and Const. Sara Burns, 43, as well as 42-year-old Donnie Robichaud and his girlfriend, Bobbie-Lee Wright, 32.

Police said Raymond shot his victims from the top floor window of an apartment building using a long gun. 

Raymond had been living in Building C at 237 Brookside Dr. for about four months.

Suspect was 'never violent' growing up

Raymond grew up in the Sunshine Gardens area of Fredericton and, according to Carter, lived in his mother's basement until she recently sold the home. He attended Fredericton High School in the 1980s.

Stephen Carter has known Matthew Vincent Raymond since Raymond was 12 years old. (CBC News)

Carter said he became close with Raymond. As a boy he would often come over and mow Carter's lawn.

"He always came and did a perfect job on the lawn and was quite a nice kid," Carter said.

Beth Hoyt grew up in the same neighbourhood with Raymond.

"I do know his mom was always asking for help with him from playing with video games and to get him out of the home when we were growing up," Hoyt said.

Occasionally, Raymond would join the neighbourhood children in a game of road hockey.

"He was never violent in the neighbourhood or anything like that," said Hoyt, who slept over at the family's home as a kid.

Newspaper clippings show that Raymond's father, Ken Raymond, died at age 58 after falling off the roof of his restaurant, Raymond's Fish and Chips. His son would have been 25 years old.

More recently, Raymond spent some time working in the produce section of a Fredericton Superstore, but quit that job four or five years ago.

He worked with Hoyt's boyfriend, Jim Whelan, at the grocery store. Whelan remembers Raymond as always being happy and good with customers.

Police officers and paramedics survey the area of the shootings that left four people dead in Fredericton last Friday. (Keith Minchin/Canadian Press)

He often talked about playing video games like Call of Duty, and Whalen said it was possible Raymond had a hard time telling the difference between games and real life.

"But I was never afraid of him," Whalen said.

​'Something snapped'

Carter was also worried about Raymond spending too much time in his mother's basement playing video games. He described the games as "war and shoot 'em up."

Sometimes, Raymond would bike over and sit on Carter's porch and talk.

Carter and Hoyt did not know whether Raymond was employed at the time of the shootings.

Recently, Carter said, Raymond was "drifting away from people that could be helpful to him."

"When I use that expression 'something snapped,' it's only because it's not the boy, the man, that set up the vegetables and that talked to me in a kind way," Carter said.