Friday’s shooting in Fredericton, N.B., has hit close to home.
Two Fredericton police officers were among the four people killed in an early-morning shooting in a residential area on the city’s north side.
Police confirm the victims are Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sarah Burns along with two civilians – a man and a woman – who remain unidentified.
Stephen Clarke of Cornwall was just back on the Island after beginning the process of moving to the New Brunswick capital. He said he was devastated when he heard the news.
“I’m rattled,’’ Clarke told The Guardian. “We came back from Fredericton two days ago. We’re moving next week so we’ve been taking stuff back and forth, and it’s just a bit scary. It’s so tragic that the community has now lost two police officers who were protecting them from this horrible violence.
“The families, I can’t imagine what they’re going through. It’s absolutely horrific. It’s certainly not a story I would expect to hear out of a nice, tight-knit, little community like Fredericton.’’
Oliver Cooper, who played for the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders from 2013-16, was working in Fredericton when he heard the news come over the radio.
“It’s pretty devastating,’’ Cooper said. “You don’t expect that stuff to happen in Atlantic Canada, let alone in New Brunswick and Fredericton. It’s such a small community. It’s devastating. My condolences go out to the family and friends of all of them. It’s awful news.’’
Cooper said the news is made all the more shocking because Fredericton reminds him so much of what living in Charlottetown was like — peaceful and tranquil.
“It’s a community where everyone knows everyone. You go down the street, and everyone says ‘Hi’ and smiles and you wave to people. It’s a pretty tight-knit community. It’s not something you expect to happen.’’
Scott MacDonald of Charlottetown is in Fredericton with other Island parents watching their daughters play in the under-15 and under-17 basketball nationals.
“We’re just up the street from where it happened,’’ MacDonald said. “The Tim Hortons they keep showing on the news is actually the corner where we turn up to get up to our Airbnb. We knew nothing about it until people started texting to say, ‘Is everything OK?’.’’
MacDonald described the neighbourhood as a series of high-rent apartment units with two-storey houses.
MacDonald, in fact, has had training in dealing with an active shooter situation, having worked previously as an RCMP dispatcher.
“It’s something you obviously hope you’re never going to have to deal with. It’s a very high-stress situation for anybody that has to deal with.’’
Former Charlottetown resident Cheryl Murray, who now lives and works in Fredericton, said she also heard about it on the radio going to work.
“Immediately, I thought of Justin Bourque,’’ Murray said, referring to the 2014 Moncton shooter who killed three RCMP officers and wounded two others. “Obviously, we have no way of knowing at this time what the situation is, but there seems to be the same level of worry and fear.’’
Clarke said he and his friends were talking Friday that they won’t let this incident intimidate them.
“When we were moving some stuff into the apartment (in Fredericton), as I was carrying stuff up the stairs, people that I’ve never met ever, but living in the same complex, they were just extremely neighbourly, cracking a couple of jokes, smiling at you and I thought if this is what it’s like this is going to be a really easy move because these are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met.’’