New Brunswick·Photos

A small city with a huge heart: Fredericton mourns after shooting

After the Fredericton shooting that left four residents dead, the community comes together to remember the dead with flowers, balloons, teddy bears and superheroes.

Community remembers the dead with flowers, balloons and superheroes

Fredericton resident Lisa Dozier hugged a woman she had never met before right in front of the Fredericton police department Saturday, a day after the shooting that killed four residents.

The woman was crying but Dozier was as well, so it felt right, she said.

"We're a close community," said Dozier, who's originally from Newfoundland but has lived in the city of 58,000 for more than 40 years. "We're a small city. I didn't know her, but that's just the way we are here."

The strangers held each other for a few minutes, mourning police officers Sara Mae Helen Burns, 43, and Lawrence Robert (Robb) Costello, 45, Donald Adam Robichaud, 42, and Bobbie Lee Wright, 32.

Countless flowers, cards, balloons and teddy bears have been placed at the Fredericton police sign in front of the station downtown.

But in the middle of the sea of flowers and colours, two objects stand out: a Superman painting and a framed Wonder Woman caricature.

Alex Browne, a 10-year-old boy who lives in Fredericton, saw the Superman painting while walking by the police department with his mother.

He decided another one had to be done. But this one would be Wonder Woman.

"I usually draw SpongeBob, but I tried to represent her, Sara," said Alex, referring to Const. Sara Burns.

He didn't personally know her, but his sister knew Burns' youngest son.

"My daughter has met Sara's youngest son before and this really hit her hard. I'm a counsellor and have clients who knew the family so we felt the need to do something," said Shannon Browne, Alex's mother.

"Fredericton has never had to deal with something like this," said Dozier with a cracking voice.

She lives with her husband on McKnight Street, just "two minutes away" from where the shooting took place.

When her daughter called her Friday morning to warn her about the shooting, she thought it was a joke.

"I said what? I thought she was joking. I really did," said Dozier.

"But we're going to be a better Fredericton for this. I know we will."

All photos by María José Burgos.