New Brunswick

Widows of slain Mounties unveil Moncton memorial

The widows of three Mounties killed in the line of duty two years ago fought back tears as they unveiled sculptures of their husbands during a memorial service in Moncton Saturday.

June 4 marks 2nd anniversary of shooting deaths of 3 RCMP constables

A bronze monument featuring life-size statues of Constables Doug Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan, who were gunned down two years ago, was unveiled in Moncton on Saturday. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The widows of three Mounties killed in the line of duty two years ago fought back tears as they unveiled bronze statues of their husbands during a memorial service in Moncton Saturday.

Constables Doug Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross were killed as they responded to a call regarding a man carrying weapons on June 4, 2014.

"What an amazing tribute to Doug, Dave and Fabrice," said Nadine Larche. "When the girls and I come to visit, we will know Doug is close and watching over us."

Newfoundland artist Morgan MacDonald created the monument, which has been placed in the heart of Moncton, in Riverfront Park on the banks of the Petitcodiac River.

The wives of the three slain Mounties, Nadine Larche (pink sweater), Rachael Ross (holding child) and Angela Gevaudan (striped dress), spoke at the ceremony in Moncton on Saturday. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Rachael Ross said she is thankful to have it in a place where her family can reflect.

Children didn't get to know their dad

"I'm especially thankful my children will be able to come and honour their dad here as they were too young to really have the opportunity to know him," she said.

About 500 people attended the service. Among the speakers were RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dan Dubeau, local MP and government leader in the House of Commons Dominic LeBlanc, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant and former Moncton mayor George LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said the courage and grace shown by the Mounties' wives is inspiring.

"By your very presence here today, you share the message of love, hope and strength in the face of tragedy and adversity," he said.

"Together as a community, may we look to this monument as a statement that we will never surrender to hatred and violence and will respond with kindness, compassion and love."

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, left, helps members of the Larche family unveil the memorial to the three RCMP officers who were gunned down two years ago, as Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, right, looks on. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Dubeau said the memorial will be "a lasting recognition of the sacrifices of three brave members of the RCMP who ran toward danger in order to protect their community and its citizens."

"We couldn't ask for a better setting where we can always come to reflect and more importantly to remember three men, three fathers, three sons, three heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country," he said.

Lights-on gesture remembered

Dubeau also paid recognition to Andrew Sanojca, who was at the service. Immediately after the shootings, Sanojca suggested residents of Moncton turn on their porch lights as a symbol of solidarity and to assist RCMP in the hunt for the killer.

From left, Constables Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John, Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que., and Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt, France, were killed in Moncton on June 4, 2014. (RCMP)

"That simple gesture not only helped us but it also became a beacon of good that lit up the night two years ago, a symbol that beamed across Canada and the world that has been incorporated into this monument," Dubeau said.

Sanojca said the recognition was "very humbling."

"It's really about the officers that served and lost their life," he said. "But it is nice to be a part of it."

June 4 will always be a difficult day for people like Viola Biggar, who lives in the neighbourhood where the Mounties were shot and killed.

"I think about it every day," she said.

Constables Darlene Goguen and Eric Dubois were also wounded that night.

Moncton resident Justin Bourque pleaded guilty to the shootings, and received five life sentences, with no chance of parole for 75 years.

With files from Matthew Bingley