Moncton Mounties visitation draws public paying respects
City to close streets, cancel bus service Tuesday as 7,000 RCMP, first responders expected for funeral
A steady stream of people made their way to the Wesleyan Celebration Centre in Moncton, N.B., on Monday as public visitation began for three RCMP officers who were gunned down in the line of duty on Wednesday.
Live coverage of the funeral on Tuesday:
Coverage of the funeral for the three slain RCMP officers will air on CBC Television and CBC News Network starting at 12 p.m. AT on Tuesday.
The service will also be live streamed on CBCNews.ca and be carried on CBC Radio One at 1 p.m. AT.
People started to arrive around the lunch hour, even before the doors opened, waiting in line on the front steps under the sweltering sun.
John Doucette was one of the first citizens to pay his respects to the families of Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, Const. Dave Joseph Ross and Const. Douglas James Larche.
"It's important to show all the support we can possibly garner up for the RCMP officers who lost their lives and their families," said Doucette.
"This is a community that is reeling from unspeakable events, and it's going to be a long time before this community settles down into any sense of normalcy again."
Normande and Larry Boudreau were also among those at the visitation.
"It's the only thing we can do. We're so helpless," said Normande Boudreau. "The sadness is palpable,"
"It's the community. You can tell the difference," said Larry Boudreau.
Inside the visitation, three caskets are at the front of the church, each flanked by two RCMP officers in full uniform, who graciously shake hands with and receive hugs from emotional citizens.
Many of those who passed through the line were sobbing softly and some officers were choking back tears.
A large photo of each of the slain officers in uniform is on display above each casket and underneath is a photograph of each officer doing some of his work as a Mountie.
Gevaudan is shown in diving gear. The letter of commendation Larche received for saving a baby is displayed. Ross is shown with his police dog, with a dog harness next to his casket.
A Mountie Stetson and gun holster also sit atop each of the coffins.
The public visitation will take place until 9 p.m. AT.
The City of Moncton will shut down bus service and close several streets on Tuesday to help with logistics for the RCMP regimental funeral.
The service for the three Mounties is scheduled for 1 p.m. AT at the Moncton Coliseum, following a procession.
An estimated 7,000 RCMP and first responders from across North America are expected in the city to pay their respects.
"This is for the family. And this is for the fallen members. And the members that were injured. And this is to recognize them in the best way we can as an organization," said Staff Sgt. Major Gilles Côté, who is co-ordinating the event.
The city is also taking a number of steps to provide support to the regimental funeral:
- Access to the Coliseum parking lot will be restricted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Killam Drive, between Worthington Avenue and Ayer Avenue, will be closed to all traffic between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Russ Howard Drive, between the Collishaw roundabout and Millennium Boulevard, will be closed to all through traffic between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Millennium Boulevard, between Pacific Street and Killam Drive, will be closed to all through traffic between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Moncton officials say thousands of uniformed officers will be in attendance and there are only a limited number of seats available to the public at the Coliseum.
Remote sites will provide coverage of the service free of charge to enable the community to mourn together.
Remote sites are confirmed for:
- Moncton City Hall Lobby, 655 Main St. (in French).
- Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., 780 seats (in English).
- Dieppe Arts and Cultural Centre, 331 Acadie Ave., Dieppe, 255 seats (in French).
- Wesleyan Celebration Centre, 954 St. George Blvd., 1820 seats (in English)
- Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr. (in English).
- Arthur-J.-LeBlanc Centre, 432 Melanson Rd., Dieppe (in French).
- Cineplex Trinity, 127 Trinity Dr. (in English).
- Cineplex Dieppe, 499 Paul St., Dieppe (in English).
- Community Peace Centre, 150 Queen St. (in English).
- Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 5 Fatima Dr., Riverview, 500 seats (in English).
Doors will open at noon in each of the remote locations.
CBC News will carry the service live on CBC Television, CBC News Network and CBC Radio One. The service will also be livestreamed at CBCNews.ca.