NEWS

Moncton Shooting: Witnesses Tell Their Story

06/05/2014 05:18 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:00 EDT
Some residents of a suburban Moncton, N.B., neighbourhood became reluctant witnesses to a gunman's rampage that killed three RCMP officers and wounded two others Wednesday evening. 

Vanessa Bernatchez was with several other people in the living room of her home in the Pinehurst subdivision of Moncton, watching out the window as an RCMP officer took cover behind a police cruiser and scoped out the area, apparently looking for the shooter.

Bernatchez recorded the scene on her smart phone and later uploaded the video to Facebook.

She told CBC News that at one point, she watched as the gunman came walking down the street, but the RCMP officer ducking behind the vehicle did not see him.

Another person with Bernatchez attempted to tap on the glass window in an effort to warn the officer.

The Mountie was unable to hear their warning.

“It was too late, he went down. We knew it was over,” Bernatchez said.

On the video, she can be heard screaming: “Call 911.”

Bernatchez told CBC News that after shooting the RCMP officer, the gunman casually walked out of view into a nearby wooded area. 

Heidi James — a physician in Moncton who was supposed to be on duty at a local hospital late Wednesday and overnight Thursday — was watching cartoons with her two young children and husband when she heard five loud bangs outside.

James said that neighbourhood kids sometimes play with air rifles in the woods near her home, so at first she thought the sounds may be harmless.

"But these were not like any shots we had heard before," she said. 

Shortly after hearing what were now clearly gunshots, James received a call from a friend who lives nearby alerting her to the manhunt unfolding outside her home, she told CBC News.

“Once we got our wits about us we took the kids to a safe place … first to a bathroom, then to a closet and then eventually back to a safe bathroom.”

James said she tried to calm her two children by making a game of hiding out until police clear the area.

Local photographer Daniel St. Louis took some of the earliest photos from the scene. He was at a friend’s house when he saw tweets referencing a heavy police presence in the area, so he decided to drive over to where RCMP was reportedly setting up roadblocks.

In just a few blocks, St. Louis came across three separate vehicles with bullet holes in them or blown out windows, one of which clearly had blood in and around it, he told CBC News.

“I thought, ‘this is not good’ …  But as a photographer my instinct is to document,” he said.

At one point, St. Louis said, he came across a body on the side of a street. He called police, who told them they knew of the body.

 At that point, he decided it was time to leave the scene and get to safety with his kids.

“We just locked the doors,” St. Louis said.

New Brunswick RCMP are still searching for the suspected gunman, Justin Borque, 24, who is believed to be holed up in a wooded area nearby where the officers were shot.