New Brunswick

Ottawa shootings stir up painful memories in Moncton

The Ottawa shootings and lockdown Wednesday stirred up painful memories for several Moncton residents of a similar situation in their city in June that left three Mounties killed and two others injured.

Soldier being killed is emotional reminder of shooting deaths of 3 Moncton Mounties in June

The shootings and lockdown that shook Ottawa on Wednesday has many Moncton residents thinking back to June when a similar situation gripped the southeastern New Brunswick city.

Three Codiac Regional RCMP officers were shot and killed and two others were wounded by Justin Bourque on June 4.

Grace Vander Ploeg, whose son-in-law, Moncton RCMP Const. Dave Ross, was shot and killed by Justin Bourque in June, says police need more authority to detain individuals like the Ottawa shooter. (CBC)
Joanne Murray, whose Moncton home was under lockdown for 30 hours as hundreds of police officers from across the country searched for Bourque, was in Ottawa on Wednesday attending a social housing conference when the shootings there occurred.

Murray said the downtown hotel where the conference was being held was inside the security perimeter set up by police after the soldier on guard at the National War Memorial was shot and a gunman was loose in the Parliament building.

"It is surreal to experience something like this twice, that's for sure," said Murray.

"I don't know if this is our new reality, but this kind of thing is becoming more common. It's a frightening thought for sure," she said.

"Just a really uneasy feeling that this may be the new normal but not a good feeling. Some places are sacred and you would think that the Parliament building would be a sacred place."

Canadian reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was killed in Ottawa Wednesday while guarding the National War memorial. (Facebook/Canadian Press)
The mother-in-law of one of the Moncton RCMP officers who was killed in June said police need more authority to detain individuals, such as the Ottawa shooter.

“The RCMP, or whoever is in authority needs to round up people like that because they are threatening the security of everyone is in Canada," said Grace Vander Ploeg, the mother of Rachael Ross, the wife of the late Const. Dave Ross.

"So that’s how I feel, that the authorities need more power to go after these guys," she said.

Carol Garland, another Moncton resident, said the Canadian Forces member being killed while on guard is an emotional reminder of what happened in her city.

"It just sort of takes you back to when we were experiencing the same thing. So we feel their pain, that's for sure," she said.

"It's terrible that something happens like that when you're home, you're working. We just assume we'll be safe and then you aren't, so it's shocking."

Ruth Parks said the shock of a shooting in your hometown and the experience of being under lockdown is one not easily forgotten.

I know Ottawa people must be feeling the same thing we felt here then — fear, not understanding, confusion.- Ruth Parks, Moncton resident

"So I know Ottawa people must be feeling the same thing we felt here then — fear, not understanding, confusion," she said.

Kelly Arnold also sympathizes with people living in the capital city.

"It's sad, it brings back all kinds of memories of what happened here and stuff. It was just really scary because it's not [something that] really typically happens here. The next thing you know, there's things happening at Parliament," said Arnold.

"It just goes to show you, I think the world is changing. It's scary to think that those kinds of things are going on. And really, what is it that they're after by doing that at Parliament? There are just so many unanswered questions at this point."

April Henningsen, an Ottawa resident who is working in Moncton for a few weeks, said seeing what happened back home is like watching something out of a movie.

"We're here right now. We have friends and family and all our work colleagues that live two blocks away from where it happened. So it's scary," she said.

Moment of silence held in Parliament

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while standing guard at the war memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Wednesday morning, just before 10 a.m. ET.

Members of Parliament honoured Cirillo with a moment of silence as they tried to get back to a normal routine on Thursday morning.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper went on to thank House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, a Miramichi native who has been hailed as a hero by MPs for stopping the assailant who killed Cirillo.

Investigators are still trying to determine what motivated the shooter to kill a soldier and why he targeted Parliament Hill.

Justin Bourque, 24, of Moncton, who has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in the Mountie shootings, is scheduled to face a sentencing hearing next week.