MONCTON, N.B. — A nerve-wracking manhunt came to an end early Friday morning after police apprehended the suspect wanted in one of the worst mass shootings in the RCMP’s history that left three Mounties dead and two others wounded in Moncton, N.B.
Paul Greene, a spokesman with the RCMP, said Justin Bourque was arrested at around 12:10 a.m., bringing to a close a harrowing search that lasted nearly 30 hours.
Bourque, 24, was wanted after the shootings Wednesday evening in the northwest area of the city.
Michelle Thibodeau said she saw the Moncton man arrested in the frontyard of her home.
“I’m still shaking,” said Thibodeau, 21.
“It was very scary. My whole family was shaking.”
She said she heard the suspect say, “I’m done,” prior to his arrest as officers had their guns drawn.
Moncton, a city of about 69,000, had been at a virtual standstill up until the arrest, with buses pulled off the roads, government buildings shut down and schools closed as the RCMP scoured the streets.
Residents in a cordoned off area were told to stay inside their homes and lock their doors.
But shortly after Bourque’s arrest, people were allowed outside their houses and roads that had been blockaded for more than a day were reopened, Greene said.
Police including tactical officers began their manhunt Wednesday at around 7:30 p.m. when they responded to a call about a man walking along a road with what was believed to be a gun.
After the call, shots were fired and officers called for backup.
The RCMP said police officers from across the country were brought in to help arrest the suspect.
At one point, Bourque was seen Thursday morning but officers were unable to arrest him after he went into a wooded area, the RCMP said.
The identities of the officers who were shot have not been released by police.
But late Thursday, the National Post identified one of the officers fatally shot as Const. Dave Ross, a police services dog handler with the RCMP. The newspaper quoted the sister-in-law of the man’s wife as saying he had a young son, with another child expected in September.
The RCMP have scheduled a news conference for Friday at 8 a.m.
Bourque was not known to police and investigators were trying to piece together his background.
He was wearing military camouflage and carrying two rifles in a picture of him released by police on Twitter on Wednesday night.
The deadly shootings touched a nerve not only in Moncton, but throughout the country, where flags were flown at half-mast, including the flag at the Peace Tower in Ottawa. MPs also observed a moment of silence in the House of Commons.
The shootings also evoked memories of an RCMP tragedy in Mayerthorpe, Alta., nine years ago when Constables Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, Lionide (Leo) Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol and Peter Christopher Schiemann were shot and killed.