An RCMP officer rests his head at a roadblock in Moncton, N.B. on Thursday, June 5, 2014. Three RCMP officers were killed and two injured by a gunman wearing military camouflage and wielding two guns on Wednesday. Police have identified a suspect as 24-year-old Justin Bourque of Moncton.
©THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Shortly after shots rang out in Moncton, police across P.E.I. responded.
A half dozen officers from the Charlottetown and Summerside police forces joined approximately 20 RCMP officers from the province in the manhunt fewer than two hours off the Confederation Bridge.
“We’ve got three officers in Moncton as part of the RCMP emergency response team,’’ said Gary McGuigan, deputy chief of Charlottetown Police Services.
“We will, and have offered our assistance and are willing to provide whatever we can to the RCMP (in Moncton). We just hope it ends here successful, sooner rather than later.’’
McGuigan said he isn’t able to say the officers from the P.E.I. capital would be doing.
“Everything is so fluid over there. They’re on the ground, trying to bring this to a successful conclusion.’’
And, he can’t identify who the officers are.
“We have, and have always had, members as part of a joint forces operation, members on the emergency response team, as well as crisis negotiators which travel with the emergency response team.’’
Summerside deputy chief Sinclair Walker said he was also unable to identify the officers they sent over.
“It’s very tragic,’’ Walker said of the killings. “We have offered other members as well. There are three now and we’ll see how it all unfolds. It may require more.’’
Ian Fraser of Charlottetown was glued to his television set on Thursday, his heart breaking for the families of the three RCMP officers killed in the line of duty in Moncton.
Fraser retired from the RCMP in January, having worked in Summerside, London, Ottawa and Toronto.
“It shows how dangerous police work is in our society today. It shows you that in small communities it can happen,’’ Fraser said.
Moncton Mayor Georges LeBlanc was quoted Wednesday as saying if it can happen in Moncton, it can happen anywhere. Fraser agrees with that sentiment completely.
“There are officers in rural communities, with backup that can be a half hour away. The danger level can be quite high at times.
“Something definitely made this guy snap. Obviously he’s had a problem with authority in the past. It shows you how things can erupt so quickly, almost without warning. Out of the blue, these things can happen.’’
Wednesday’s shooting also played havoc with a few businesses on P.E.I. Thursday.
An employee at NAPA Auto Parts in Charlottetown said parts that would normally have come over from the warehouse in Moncton didn’t make it.
“We’re not getting our parts overnight as we usually do,’’ said the employee who only identified himself as Doug. “It’s a bit out of the ordinary but (the customers) are taking it pretty well. They understand the circumstances.’’
Carquest Auto Parts in Charlottetown did get a shipment from its warehouse in Moncton but an employee The Guardian spoke to wasn’t quite as optimistic about another shipment making it over in time for today.
Andy Stone at Carquest said his thoughts are with those affected by the tragedy.
“I just can’t make any sense out of this. It’s a crazy story,’’ Stone said. “It’s just nuts for this to happen in the Maritimes. You never hear of stuff like this. Usually people aren’t like that to one another. Why would (the shooter) want to destroy his life?’’