Condolences are streaming in at the death of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers in Moncton, New Brunswick, as the hunt for the camo-clad gunman who killed them continues on Thursday June 5.
Two other officers were injured and in stable condition. The RCMP has not yet released any of their names.
A subdivision in the Pinehurst section of Moncton, a city of 140,000 (including the area known as Greater Moncton) about 90 miles northeast of St. John, was under siege on Thursday morning as residents were advised to lock their doors and stay inside. Police suspected that alleged shooter Justin Bourque, 24, was hiding in a wooded area of the subdivision, armed with high-powered rifles, a crossbow and a knife, according to Globalnews.ca.
“Please continue to be vigilant. If you see anything call 911. Please do NOT post police movements on social networks,” the New Brunswick RCMP tweeted.
Schools have been closed, all buses have been pulled from service, and every vehicle is being searched, CBC News reported. In a city named “most polite” by Reader’s Digest, the events were especially jarring. The number of homicides in 2011 and 2012 were zero, with an average of just one homicide annually between 2006 and 2011, CNN reported. The homicide rate north of the 49th Parallel was 1.6 per 100,000 in 2012, CNN said, as compared to 4.7 per 100,000 in the U.S.
“It has been perhaps the darkest day in the history of the New Brunswick RCMP,” the RCMP New Brunswick said on Twitter.
New Brunswick is also where the Elsipogtog First Nation, 56 miles northeast of Moncton, clashed with police in protesting fracking operations last year. Though tumultuous, it did not result in any loss of life. It is also where the Assembly of First Nations holds many of its high-level leadership meetings.
As police continued searching for Bourque, the country’s leaders issued statements of support.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of those affected by this tragedy. We also offer our prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement from himself and his wife issued from Belgium, where he is attending the G-7 summit. “This violent incident is a stark reminder that our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line in Canada every day to protect our citizens and communities. The sacrifice of these brave officers will be honored and remembered.”
Governor General David Johnston expressed similar sentiments.
“Those who wear the colors of the RCMP understand the risks that come with the uniform, but always defend our communities with bravery and courage,” he said in a statement. “Today, we remember the sacrifice of these three officers, a tragic loss we all feel. On behalf of all Canadians, we offer our sincerest condolences to their family and friends, as well as wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured.”