New Brunswick

Moncton shootings: RCMP will review how to prevent similar incident

As RCMP prepare for a regimental funeral to be held Tuesday to bid farewell to three members shot to death by a gunman in Moncton, N.B., a spokesperson says a review will be conducted in hopes of preventing a similar incident.

Increased police presence expected in community during ongoing investigation

From left, Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John, N.B., Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que., and Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt, France, were killed in Moncton, N.B., last Wednesday. (RCMP)

As RCMP prepare for a regimental funeral to be held Tuesday to bid farewell to three members shot to death by a gunman in Moncton, N.B., a spokesperson says a review will be conducted in hopes of preventing a similar incident.

"Absolutely," Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh told CBC's News Network on Monday. ​"That obviously would be something that we'd look at. You know, I can't say for sure when or what that would be, but absolutely, whenever something like this happens, there is going to be a time where they are going to look at [a review]."

RCMP investigators work at the home of shooting suspect Justin Bourque in Moncton, N.B., on Sunday. Police continue to search the area for evidence. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Meanwhile, people in Moncton’s north end will continue to see an increased police presence as the investigation continues, said Rogers-Marsh.

"It could be days, it could be weeks that people in Moncton are going to see members from different sections," she said.

On Sunday afternoon, police officers were going door-to-door in the neighbourhood where the shootings occurred last week.

Janice Jensen, a resident in the southeastern New Brunswick city, said she's glad to see Mounties in her neighbourhood.

Justin Bourque's neighbours say RCMP searched his trailer home for about six hours on Sunday. (Jennifer Choi/CBC)
"I think it’s fantastic, actually," she said. "They're going forward and finding any more details or any more evidence as to why this happened.

"It just makes us feel really good and secure and safe that they're still continuing on with the investigation."

RCMP Cpl. Chantal Farrah said residents in the city’s north end can expect to see more officers than usual in the neighbourhood.

She said there will be a variety of specialists working in the area — from forensic identification experts to explosive disposal units. People will likely also see ground search and rescue personnel.

Details of shooter's movements sought

RCMP Const. Doug Baker checks out the area around Bourque's home on Sunday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
The RCMP has already asked residents to send any photos or videos they may have taken during the Wednesday night shootings that left three RCMP officers dead and two others wounded.

Justin Bourque, 24, was arrested early Friday and charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the shootings.

Farrah said police are seeking information about the suspect’s "movements before, leading up to, during and after the shootings" and ask anyone with information to contact RCMP.

Bourque's neighbours told CBC News that police spent about six hours on Sunday searching his trailer home.

A robot was used to check for bombs, said Craig McCarthy, who lives on the same street. He also said a drone was flying above the trailer and officers on the ground were asking area residents questions.

"What they seen, if they seen him, what he was wearing, what guns he had on him?"

McCarthy, who told police he saw Bourque walk down the street and straight into the woods, said he has been interviewed several times.

"The shock is over with and now, I don't know. Every time I think about it, I just want to break down and cry almost," said McCarthy. "It's setting in now. It's sad."

The slain officers have been identified as:

A public visitation for the three slain officers will be held on Monday at the Wesleyan Celebration Centre in Moncton from 2-9 p.m.

Roger Brown, the RCMP's assistant commissioner in New Brunswick, wipes away tears during a news conference. He said the public has been supportive of the RCMP following the Moncton shootings. (Marc Grandmaison/Canadian Press)
Tomorrow's funeral for the officers will be held at 1 p.m. AT at the Moncton Coliseum. Gov.-Gen. David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will be among those attending the funeral, which will feature a parade of officers from the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies. A private interment will follow.

​Moncton officials expect as many as 7,000 police officers will attend the funeral.

Area resident Charles Doucet said he hopes police officers are able to grieve during the difficult investigation.

"I can't imagine the emotions they are going through — anger, denial, tremendous sorrow, determination. It's terrible at the end of the day," he said.

There will be limited seating at the Moncton Coliseum, so five additional venues are being set up around the city where people can watch a video stream of the service.

There had been a call-out for Moncton residents to open up their homes to visiting RCMP and other law enforcement officers who will be attending the funeral, but the request has been suspended due to the "overwhelming" response.

The Volunteer Centre of Southeastern New Brunswick, which is arranging home billets so the visiting officers have a place to stay when they arrive in Moncton, told CBC's Maritime Noon it was getting about a call a minute from people offering to put visitors up in their homes.

A tree in Moncton's Hildegard neighbourhood had three ribbons tied around it representing each of the slain RCMP officers. (Michel Nogue/Twitter)
​"We continue to work as quickly as possible to find accommodations as we're receiving confirmations from attendees. However, due to your exceptional generosity, we have at this time more homes than confirmed visitors," the city said in a statement.

"We thank you sincerely once again for the outpouring of support."

Roger Brown, the assistant commissioner of the RCMP, said in an interview on Monday that Tuesday will be a "very, very difficult day" for him and other police officers in New Brunswick.

He said citizens around the province have helped ease the pain of the loss.

"I can't go outside the detachment without someone saying, 'Thank you,'" Brown said.

"Together we will get through it."

'I refuse to live in fear'

The Fallen 4 Marathon was held in Mayerthorpe, Alta., on Sunday in honour of the four Mounties who were killed in the town in 2005. (Silvana Benolich/CBC News)
Brown said it is also important for police to learn from what happened in Moncton.

"The investigation has to continue as we try and piece together exactly what happened, to try and understand this and at the same time ensure the security of the people that we are there to protect. That is ongoing. That was ongoing from the moment the shooting started and will continue," he said.

The province's top RCMP officer said it is important to understand how the shootings happened, but said he doesn't want that process to turn into "a blame game." 

Many Moncton residents say they will not let the shooting define them or their city.

Jordan Dixon is a firefighter with the City of Moncton. He brought his young son to the RCMP station to lay flowers over the weekend.

He said he is trying to help his son understand the importance of what police do for the community.

"Yes, we will never be the same again. Yes, we have been completely traumatized and we’re heartbroken by what’s happened," Heather Robinson said.

"But personally, I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to obsessively check all my windows and doors. I refuse to be in fear of somebody who might be walking down the street because that's when you give in to fear, and that’s when he wins."

Charles Emmrys, a child psychologist in Moncton, said it takes time for people to feel safe after a tragedy like this one.

But he said people are often more resilient than they realize.

"People overestimate the amount of time it will take to get better," he said.

"In fact, communities are very good at getting over these things. They are very good at investing again in the things that makes the community work and as they do they heal themselves."

'We're like Moncton'

Albert Schalm, a former mayor of Mayerthorpe, Alta., said he knows all too well the grief that the people of Moncton are feeling these days.

Schalm had been in office for less than six months when four RCMP officers were shot to death in 2005 in his community.

We didn’t just lose RCMP officers, we lost neighbours and we lost pillars of our community.- Albert Schalm, ex-mayor Mayerthorpe, Alta.

"It certainly brought back a lot of emotions and a lot of feelings that happened here nine years ago and stuff that I thought I had suppressed and I thought that I had put away in that closet in my heart," he said.

"We're like Moncton. We didn’t just lose RCMP officers, we lost neighbours and we lost pillars of our community," he said.

This weekend the Fallen 4 Marathon was held in Mayerthorpe. It's an annual race to commemorate those killed in 2005.

Moncton city council will next meet on June 16. It’s expected there will be talk of how to commemorate the slain officers.

There are other initiatives ongoing to help the families of the three officers killed.

The RCMP has established the Moncton Fallen RCMP Members Fund. Donations are being accepted through the official fund website.

A texting campaign, organized by former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord, raised $50,000 in 24 hours. Anyone who wants to donate can text "Moncton" to the numbers 4-5-6-7-8. Donors will be asked to confirm a $20 donation, which will appear on their next phone bill.

At the same time, RCMP are reminding people to be wary of scams that seek to capitalize on the tragedy.