Islanders living and working in Moncton continue to express shock and sadness at events that have been unfolding since last night.
Jason Chevrier, a reporter with the all-news News 91.9 in Moncton, told The Guardian that “the community is hurting, right from the mayor down to the average citizen’’.
Chevrier spent three years as a reporter with Ocean 100 in Charlottetown before leaving to work in Moncton.
He was working a normal day shift and was home having supper when his news editor sent him a BBM. Chevrier then spent the entire night covering the manhunt.
Meadow Bank native Connie Hyde Thurber says her husband Gordon was planting flowers minutes before gunfire erupted in Moncton.
In less than an hour, they had every door in the house locked and every window closed.
The first call to 911 in Moncton came around 7:20 p.m.
“This city is learning to pray like it has never prayed before,’’ Hyde Thurber said.
“I think (the shooter’s) plan is to kill and he intends to die.’’
The Thubers live in the lockdown zone, near the Moncton Coliseum. Connie is locked in the house but her husband went to work this morning in Shediac, trying to think about anything but the shooting, hoping to find some normalcy in a time of complete chaos.
“It’s to try to be as normal as possible.’’
Hyde Thurber said it was a long, nerve-wracking night, but she feels a bit better, a bit safer, in the daylight.
Charlottetown native Tracy Cantwell Petukhov says it feels like she’s in the middle of a movie.
Cantwell Petukhov owns a bar in Moncton, called Plan B, and is currently in the lockdown area.
She describes a scene of RCMP officers all around her, armed to the hilt with rifles “protecting us from this monster’’.
“I’m nervous to go in front of the window,’’ Cantwell Petukhov said, her voice shaking. “(The shooter) is probably looking for a place to hide.’’
Wednesday but Cantwell Petukhov said she had no idea what was unfolding until her daughter called her from Calgary.
The news quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter.
“My daughter called me from Calgary and she was crying hoping I was OK.’’
Cantwell Petukov moved from Charlottetown to Cornwall before leaving for a life in Moncton in 1997.
Cantwell Petukhov said she has all the doors locked and is hoping they find the shooter soon.
“My gut is telling me he’s inside (someone’s home) hiding somewhere.’’
Robbie Pippy of Hazelbrook and his daughter Maggie describe a surreal scene. Moncton is practically deserted, they said.
"It's like a holiday over here, like Christmas Day,'' Robbie Pippy said, describing how quiet the streets are.
Robbie drives a truck for Midland while Maggie is attending Oulton College.
"I hope they catch him alive,'' Maggie said. "I hope he didn't shoot himself. He shouldn't get off that easy.''
Ian Fraser of Charlottetown, who retired from the RCMP this past January following a long career in major crime in Ontario, said the events in Moncton are tragic but don’t surprise him.
“Violent crime is rising,’’ Fraser said. “Something made this guy snap. Obviously he’s had a problem with authority in the past.’’
Fraser said he agrees with Moncton Mayor Georges LeBlanc who said if it can happen in Moncton it can happen anywhere.