NEWS

Moncton shooting: RCMP plans increased presence during investigation

06/09/2014 06:24 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:07 EDT
The RCMP says people in Moncton’s north end will see an increased police presence over the coming weeks as its investigation into the shooting deaths of three officers continues.

On Sunday afternoon, police officers were going door-to-door in the neighbourhood where the shootings occurred last week.

Janice Jensen, a resident in the southeastern New Brunswick city, said she's glad to see Mounties in her neighbourhood.

"I think it’s fantastic, actually," she said. "They're going forward and finding any more details or any more evidence as to why this happened.

"It just makes us feel really good and secure and safe that they're still continuing on with the investigation."

RCMP Cpl. Chantal Farrah said residents in the city’s north end can expect to see more officers than usual in the neighbourhood.

She said there will be a variety of specialists working in the area — from forensic identification experts to explosive disposal units. People will likely also see ground, search and rescue personnel.

Police looking for more details of shooter's movements

The RCMP has already asked residents to send any photos or videos they may taken during the Wednesday night shooting that left three RCMP officers dead and two others wounded.

Justin Bourque, 24, was arrested early Friday and charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting.

Farrah said the police are trying to find any information about the suspect’s "movements before, leading up to, during and after the shootings" and ask anyone with information to contact the police.

The slain officers have been identified as:

- Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John. 

- Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que.

- Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

A public visitation for the three fallen officers will be held on Monday at the Wesleyan Celebration Centre in Moncton from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m.

A regimental funeral for the officers will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. AT at the Moncton Coliseum. Gov.-Gen. David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be attending the funeral, which will feature a parade of officers from the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies. A private internment will follow.

There will be limited seating at the Moncton Coliseum so five additional venues are being set up around the city where people can watch a video stream of the service.

There has also been a call-out for Moncton residents to open up their homes to visiting RCMP officers and other law enforcement officers who will be attending the funeral. The Volunteer Centre of Southeastern New Brunswick is arranging home billets so these visiting officers have a place to stay when they arrive in Moncton.

On Monday morning, the City of Moncton confirmed that 500 residents have already signed up to host visiting police officers.

'I refuse to live in fear'

Many Moncton residents say they will not let the shooting define them or their city.

Jordan Dixon is a firefighter with the City of Moncton. He brought his young son to the RCMP station to lay flowers over the weekend.

He said he is trying to help his son understand the importance of what the police do for the community.

Dixon said events such as the shooting shake people up but that it is important to move past the tragedy.

"I think it's going to take some time but … after the funerals are done, people won't forget, but people will just have to move on from here," he said.

Heather Robinson said she takes issue with the notion that Moncton was shattered by the shooting.

"Yes, we will never be the same again. Yes, we have been completely traumatized and we’re heartbroken by what’s happened," she said.

"But personally, I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to obsessively check all my windows and doors. I refuse to be in fear of somebody who might be walking down the street because that's when you give in to fear, and that’s when he wins."

Charles Emmrys, a child psychologist in Moncton, said it does take time for people to feel safe after a tragedy like this one,

But he said people are often more resilient than they realize.

"People overestimate the amount of time it will take to get better," he said.

"In fact, communities are very good at getting over these things. They are very good at investing again in the things that makes the community work and as they do they heal themselves."

Emmrys said often communities become closer during ordeals like the one Moncton endured last week.

'We're like Moncton'

Albert Schalm, a former mayor of Mayerthorpe, Alta., said he knows all too well the grief that the people of Moncton are feeling these days.

Schalm had been in office for less than six months when four RCMP officers were shot to death in 2005 in his community.

Schalm said the news from Moncton last week brought back his own grief.

"It certainly brought back a lot of emotions and a lot of feelings that happened here nine years ago and stuff that I thought I had suppressed and I thought that I had put away in that closet in my heart," he said.

One of the RCMP officers killed in Mayerthorpe was Schalm's neighbour.

"We're like Moncton. We didn’t just lose RCMP officers, we lost neighbours and we lost pillars of our community," he said.

This weekend was the Fallen 4 Marathon in Mayerthorpe, an annual race to commemorate those killed in 2005.

Moncton city council will hold its first meeting on June 16. It’s expected there will be talk of how to commemorate the slain officers.

There are other initiatives ongoing to help the families of the three officers killed.

The RCMP has also established the Moncton Fallen RCMP Members Fund. Donations are being accepted through the official fund website.

A texting campaign organized by former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord raised $50,000 in 24 hours. Anyone who wants to donate can text "Moncton" to the numbers 4-5-6-7-8. Donors will be asked to confirm a $20 donation, which will appear on their next phone bill.

At the same time, the RCMP are reminding people to be wary of scams that seek to capitalize on the tragedy.

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