An emergency response team member runs past a trailer where murder suspect 24-year-old Justin Bourque resides in Moncton, New Brunswick on Thursday. Bourque is wanted after three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were killed and two injured by a gunman wearing military camouflage and wielding two guns on Wednesday.
MONCTON, New Brunswick — A man suspected of gunning down three Royal Canadian Mounted Police was caught and charged Friday, ending a 30-hour manhunt that closed schools and forced residents to hide inside their homes of this eastern Canadian city. “I’m done,” a witness heard him tell police.
Police said at a press conference that they received a tip that led them to a wooded residential part of Moncton, New Brunswick, where they found 24-year-old Justin Bourque, suspected in the deadliest attack on Canada’s national police force in nearly a decade.
Armed with high-powered long firearms, Bourque was spotted three times Thursday as he evaded the manhunt that all but shut down the normally tranquil city about of about 60,000 people east of the Maine border. Nearly 300 police officers searched for Bourque, who was seen going in and out of a wooded area.
RCMP Supt. Marlene Snowman said Bourque was arrested at 12:10 a.m. She said he wasn’t carrying any weapons, but some were found nearby.
Prosecutors and police declined to comment when asked if the guns were acquired legally.
Michelle Thibodeau said she saw the man in the front yard of her home and heard him say, “I’m done,” before his arrest by officers with guns drawn.
Bearded and shaggy-haired, Bourque made a brief court appearance Friday afternoon, where he was charged with three counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. In aqua-colored jail clothes, he stared ahead intently, clearly paying attention but showing little emotion. He nodded when the judge said his name.
He will be back in court July 3 as he seeks a lawyer. A court appointed legal aid attorney represented him Friday.
Prosecutors say they were not requesting a psychiatric evaluation, seeing no need for one. The defense agreed.
There was a high-level security at the appearance, including officers with drawn weapons outside the courtroom.
Roger Brown, commanding officer of RCMP in New Brunswick, choked back tears as he addressed media earlier Friday.
“Fortunately most people will never have to experience what our officers have gone through in the last two days,” he said. “I can’t dig deep enough to explain the sadness that we all feel.”
Brown identified the dead as Constables David Ross, 32, originally of Victoriaville, Quebec; Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, originally of Boulogne-Billancourt in France; and Douglas James Larche of Saint John, New Brunswick.
“It’s been a very challenging 30 hours for the officers that got this job done,” Snowman said. “It will take some time to heal, but together we will get there.”
Ross’ mother Helene Rousseau said she was sad for her son’s wife who has a one-year-old and is due to have a second child in September.
“It’s going to be difficult. These children won’t remember of course. They will not have had the opportunity of knowing their father,” Rousseau said.
Snowman and other RCMP officials did not release any more details about Bourque’s arrest or the circumstances of the shooting, citing their ongoing investigation. Details will be made public in court, she said.
Police have not spoken about a possible motive for the shootings. In a photo released earlier by police on Twitter, Bourque was wearing military camouflage and carrying two rifles.MORE IN Wire News
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