New Brunswick

Roger Brown to retire on 2nd anniversary of Moncton RCMP shootings

Two years to the day after three RCMP officers were murdered in Moncton, Roger Brown will unveil a monument to the fallen then retire as the force's commanding officer for New Brunswick.

Suicide of Cpl. Ron Francis, violence at Rexton shale gas protest also happened on commanding officer's watch

N.B. RCMP commanding officer Roger Brown wipes away tears and RCMP Supt. Marlene Snowman looks on as Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc, not shown, speaks during a news conference in Moncton on June 5, 2014, the day after three Mounties were shot and killed in the city. (Marc Grandmaison/Canadian Press)

Two years to the day after three RCMP officers were murdered in Moncton, the commanding officer of the force in New Brunswick will unveil a monument to the fallen.

Roger Brown will then retire, ending an RCMP career of almost 36 years.

The choice of June 4 as his retirement date was deliberate, he said.

"June 4 for me will never be the same, no matter where I am, no matter what I do," Brown told CBC's Information Morning Fredericton on Tuesday.

On June 4, 2014, 24-year-old Justin Bourque wandered through a Moncton neighbourhood with high-powered weapons, gunning down Mounties responding to the call.

Roger Brown has spent almost 36 years with the RCMP, with the last three of those as assistant commissioner and commanding officer for J Division in New Brunswick. (CBC)
Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, and Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, were killed. Two other Mounties were wounded.

On June 4 this year, Brown will unveil a monument to the fallen officers in a Moncton park.

"Very significant day," said Brown. "That will be my last official duty, I guess, as the commanding officer.

"For me, it's a time to turn the page and move forward, so that was the date."

RCMP Cpl. Ron Francis committed suicide after trying to draw attention to Mounties suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)
Brown's three-year tenure in New Brunswick began shortly before a violent clash between RCMP and anti-shale gas protesters in Rexton in the fall of 2013.

On the heels of the Moncton shootings, Brown had to deal with Cpl. Ron Francis, who drew national attention in his campaign for improved services for Mounties suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by smoking medical marijuana in his RCMP uniform. Francis was ordered to turn in his uniform. He later committed suicide.

All of it has taken a toll on Brown.

"There's a part of me missing," said Brown. "I'm not going to hide behind that.

There's a lot of hurt, a lot of pain.- Roger Brown, assistant commissioner RCMP

"There's a lot of hurt, a lot of pain.

"As a CO, as a commanding officer, you never want to lose ... one of your own. To lose three, you can imagine," he said. "To have five shot?"

"To lose Cpl. Francis was rough. To see what he went through. To watch his parents go through what they are going though.

"None of that is easy" said Brown. "But you can't run from it. You can't hide from it. You have to keep going forward."

The RCMP's commanding officer for J Division in New Brunswick is retiring.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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