Justin Bourque is facing three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the shootings of five RCMP officers in Moncton. Courtesy of Andrew Robson
Justin Bourque, 24, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the fatal shootings of three Mounties and the wounding of two others on the streets of Moncton, N.B., on Wednesday.
At a court appearance today in Moncton, Bourque did not enter any pleas on the charges, and neither the Crown nor the court-assigned defence lawyer requested a psychiatric evaluationat this time.
Bourque, shaggy haired and bearded, was wearing a pale blue jail-issued T-shirt and pants and showed no emotion as provincial court Judge Irwin Lampert read the charges.
The accused stared straight ahead during the court proceedings, which only lasted about five minutes.
Crown prosecutor Cameron Gunn requested time to prepare. Bourque will also need time to hire a lawyer or apply for legal aid, he said.
The case has been set over until July 3 at 9:30 a.m. AT. Bourque remains remanded in custody.
There was a heavy police presence for Bourque's brief appearance at the Moncton courthouse on Friday afternoon.
He arrived at the courthouse at about 4 p.m. AT, as several RCMP officers gathered in the lobby.
There was also what appeared to be a SWAT team, said CBC's Rachel Cave.
"It’s almost like a battle zone, just an incredible number of armed personnel, almost looking like soldiers — you know, officers in full camouflage, assault rifles, bulletproof vests and a very large presence," she reported from the Moncton Law Courts building.
There were also several sheriffs in the large courtroom, which was packed with citizens, including what appeared to be relatives or friends of the killed and injured, as well as reporters, said Cave.
Bourque was arrested at 12:10 a.m. AT Friday, following a two-day manhunt that involved hundreds of police officers from across the countryand saw much of the city locked down.
Codiac RCMP Supt. Marlene Snowman said Bourque wasn't carrying any weapons when he was arrested, but there were weapons in the perimeter of the arrest.
Police found him when they responded to a complaint of someone being in a backyard, officials said.
'Long road' to healing
Roger Brown, RCMP assistant commissioner, told the news conference it is important to start rebuilding the sense of security that was in Moncton prior to the shootings Wednesday.
"We need to start this healing together," Brown said.
"This is the start to a very long road for all of us."
The RCMP officially released the names of the dead officers:
- Const. Dave Ross, 32.
- Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45.
- Const. Douglas James Larche, 40.
Brown said police will release details about funeral arrangements in the coming days.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said in a statement released on Friday: "Their deaths are beyond comprehension. Their ultimate sacrifices will never be forgotten."
The two injured officers are:
- Const. Darlene Goguen.
- Const. Eric Dubois.
Goguen and Dubois are recovering from their injuries sustained in the shooting. Paulson said, "The injured members and their families will also continue to need our support."
Mayor says 'we will find our way through this'
Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc reflected on Friday morning about the impact of the last two days on his city.
"Moncton has always been known as a very resilient community. We have been through hard times before, not like this mind you, but I really do think the community will come together and we will find our way through this," he said.
The mayor said it is important to support the police and the family members who lost loved ones in the shootings. He said the relief of Bourque's overnight arrest will soon be taken over by the grief for the family members.
"I think it is going to be a bittersweet day. I think there will be a lot of sadness," LeBlanc said earlier on Friday.
"I think the happiness and elation over the arrest of the suspect will continue but I think as time goes on, I think that people will realize how the families and all of us will have to come to terms with the terrible loss that this has caused us."
LeBlanc later told a news conference at city hall that residents owe the RCMP a "great debt of gratitude" for their handling of the investigation.
"This is a tremendous example of the integrity and professionalism of the RCMP," he said.
The mayor said three books of condolences will be set up to remember the fallen officers.
As well, Moncton will begin discussions with the RCMP, family members of the three officers and Moncton residents about finding "an appropriate way to remember the deceased."
The mayor is encouraging Moncton residents to use social media to show their determination to move forward after the shooting. The city is asking people to use the Twitter hashtags — #monctonspirit and #espritmoncton.
"We cannot allow people like this to take our community away from us and we are not going to do that, and we haven't done that and we are going to reclaim our community," LeBlanc said at his news conference.
The country's top Mountie praised RCMP officers in Moncton.
Witness describes Bourque's arrest
Moncton resident Michelle Thibodeau told CBC News and other media that Bourque was arrested in her backyard in the northwest part of the city where the shooting occurred and which had been on lockdown while the manhunt for the suspect was underway.
Thibodeau said she saw police officers head into a patch of trees in her yard and heard five minutes of screaming.
“Justin came out with his hands up, and he said, 'I'm done,'" she told CBC News.
She said he was wearing the same clothes he had been seen in Wednesday and was dripping wet, likely from the rain that was falling in Moncton at the time.
Remember wounded officers, Alward says
New Brunswick Premier David Alward asked people to also remember the two officers who were wounded and all of the emergency services staff who helped during the shooting and subsequent manhunt.
The two wounded officers underwent surgery on Thursday. One was released, and the other remains hospitalized.
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"When faced with tragedy, it is normal to feel bewildered and shocked," Alward said. "It is important to reach out to our family, friends and neighbours to work through the grief and stress that these events have caused, and encourage people to express themselves."
"Children, in particular, may have difficulties expressing their feelings and confusion."
He added that those feeling overwhelmed can get help in New Brunswick by dialing 811. People can send their condolences to the RCMP at Condolences_Condoleances@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
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