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Justin Bourque, Moncton Shootings Suspect, Subject Of Manhunt

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Codiac RCMP have identified 24-year-old Justin Bourque as the subject of a manhunt in Moncton, N.B. Wednesday.
Codiac RCMP have identified 24-year-old Justin Bourque as the subject of a manhunt in Moncton, N.B. Wednesday.

UPDATE: Justin Bourque was arrested early Friday by Moncton police. Read updates here.

A manhunt is continuing Thursday in Moncton after three Mounties were killed and two others wounded by a shooter Wednesday evening.

Police with armoured vehicles surrounded a building in Moncton for several hours on Thursday afternoon, but Cpl. Chantal Farrah later confirmed at a press conference that the shooter, identified by police as 24-year-old Justin Bourque, was not apprehended. She also said that one of the wounded officers remains in hospital while the other has been released.

Global Halifax reporter Natasha Pace tweeted that police repeatedly used a speaker to broadcast a message outside the building asking people inside to leave. She also reported that seven people did exit and were questioned by police.

Earlier in the day, police said Bourque was spotted on Thursday morning but that they were unable to apprehend him. He is considered armed and dangerous.

Commanding Officer Roger Brown said the most recent sighting of the suspect was just after daylight and that police were able to positively identify him. Police were unable to confirm the shooter's identity on two other occasions when he may have been spotted.

“Honestly, I don’t know where he is at this time,” commanding officer Roger Brown said at a press conference Thursday. “I ask for your trust and indulgence. This is working through your worst nightmare.”

Brown said police officers from across the country have been brought in to help arrest the suspect.

Police have yet to elease the names of the officers who were shot because police were still notifying relatives.

Bourque, wearing army camouflage, was reportedly spotted carrying multiple weapons including high-powered rifles, a crossbow, and knife.

“We know very little about this man. We know he has high-powered firearms,” said Marlene Snowman, head of the Codaic Regional RCMP.
"He had no police record."

Around 7:30 p.m., officers were called to respond to a report of an armed man.

Danny Leblanc, 42, said he saw the shooter wearing an army fatigue, standing in the middle of a street, gun pointed at police.

Leblanc said he thought the man was an RCMP officer until he heard a barrage of automatic gunfire.

"That guy was standing on the road afterwards and he was looking towards us," he said.

As the search for Bourque continues, Mounties asked members of the public to refrain from sharing details of the RCMP operation through social media over concern the suspect may be active online.

"We would prefer people to not divulge the location of our members for their safety" said RCMP spokesperson Const. Damien Thériault at a press conference late Wednesday.

When asked how officers were dealing with their grief, Thériault was overcome with emotion and had to step away from the media.

The RCMP have focused their search for the shooter in a wooded area in the Pinehurst subdivision, to the north of the city.

One Moncton resident, who only wanted to be identified as G.K., told HuffPost Canada sirens were still audible late Wednesday night.

"I didn't really get scared until I was right in the thick of it in Pinehurst. The heat is off the charts in there and I was concerned about him popping out of the woods and popping me in the head in my car," they said.

Pictures of the crime scene were sent to HuffPost Canada by reader Daniel Stevens.

WARNING: Graphic photos. Story continues below slideshow

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Premier David Alward issued a statement to the public about the shootings.

"I was shocked and saddened to learn of tonight's tragic situation in Moncton," he said. "On behalf of all New Brunswickers, I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to those affected."

Sean Gallacher, a resident near the area where police are concentrating their search, said he heard what he now believes were gunshots. He initially thought his daughter had dropped some toys on the floor above him.

"I was downstairs and heard a few bangs," Gallacher said.

"I went to check but she hadn't dropped anything. Then I heard the news and realized what it actually was."

On Thursday morning, the RCMP asked residents in the area around Pinehurst to stay indoors. Several schools in the region were also closed and students and staff were asked to remain at home.

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc also echoed the safety advisory.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of those affected by the shootings.

"We also offer our prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured,'' he said in a statement.

"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 honoured and remembered.''

Based on information from the RCMP's Honour Roll page on its website, the last Mountie to die from a gunshot was Const. Douglas Scott on Nov. 5, 2007. He was shot while responding to a call for help involving an impaired driver at Kimmirut, Nunavut.

The most recent police officer killed in the line of duty was Const. Steve Dery of the Kativik police force in northern Quebec. Dery, 27, was shot and killed after he and another constable responded to a domestic violence call on March 2, 2013.

The shootings in Moncton also brought back memories of an RCMP tragedy in Mayerthorpe, Alta., on March 3, 2005, when Constables Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, Lionide (Leo) Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol and Peter Christopher Schiemann were shot and killed.

With files from The Canadian Press

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