CANADA - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers gather to attend the funeral for three fellow officers who were killed last week in Moncton, New Brunswick, June 10, 2014. Justin Bourque, 24, was charged with murder on Friday in the slayings of the three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, Constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45; David Joseph Ross, 32, and Douglas James Larche, 40, during a shooting spree in the eastern Canadian city of Moncton. The shooting spree was one of the worst of its kind in Canada, where gun laws are stricter than in the United States and deadly attacks on police are rare. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY) - RTR3T2AB Mark Blinch/Reuters
A huge procession is underway in Moncton, N.B., as thousands of RCMP officers and other law enforcement officials from across Canada make their way to the Moncton Coliseum for the regimental funeral for the three Mounties who were killed in the line of duty last week.
Citizens are lining both sides of Millennium Boulevard in the southeastern New Brunswick city.
Behind the hearse that was bringing the body of slain officer Dave Joseph Ross to the funeral was his dog, Danny. Ross was a dog handler with the RCMP.
The majority of those lining the procession route are wearing red in honour of the slain Mounties.
Gov.-Gen. David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be inside the Moncton Coliseum at 1 p.m. AT along with the thousands of police officers and first responders to remember constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, Ross and Douglas James Larche.
It is expected the two Mounties who were injured in the shooting, constables Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Marie Darlene Goguen, will also attend the funeral.
Staff Sgt. Major Gilles Côté, who is co-ordinating the regimental funeral, said an estimated 7,000 RCMP officers and first responders are in Moncton for the service.
He said the goal is to honour the fallen officers "in the best way we can as an organization."
In all, seven planes loaded with police officers from across Canada and the United States flew into Moncton on Tuesday morning.There will also be law enforcement officers from other countries, such as Great Britain, at the funeral.
Due to the number of officers taking part, organizers decided on an earlier start time of 10:45 a.m. AT for the procession in advance of the funeral.
The city is also taking a number of steps to help the funeral's organizers. For instance, Moncton is taking its Codiac Transit buses out of their regular rotation on Tuesday.
Instead, the public transit buses were being used for taking RCMP to the procession route.
"We certainly understand that some people rely on the service; however, the RCMP needs our help at this time," said Isabelle LeBlanc, a communications officer for the City of Moncton.
"They've asked us to transport officers back and forth for the ceremony, so we've certainly tried to accommodate that."
Transit buses from Halifax and Saint John are also in Moncton to help officers get around.
The large number of law enforcement officers expected for the funeral means there will be few seats left for the public.
The city has organized 10 remote viewing sites around Moncton so people can mourn together.
"Whether you want to see it with other people or you want to see it perhaps by yourself on television, there will be options for everybody," LeBlanc said.
The lack of public seating does not bother Moncton residents, such as Brenda Myers.
Myers said it's her duty to pay her respects to the fallen Mounties.
But she said she feels the funeral at the Moncton Coliseum is for RCMP members and family of the slain officers so she'll watch from the Wesleyan Celebration Centre.
“It affects me terribly what has happened and I know it's affected others,” Myers said.
“I have two brothers — one is retired from the RCMP [and] I have another that is in the RCMP, and we know what it's like when they're out on calls.”
‘The best thing we could do is to say, thank you’
The funeral follows the public visitation for the Mounties that drew large crowds on Monday.
Nicky Carrier was one of the many Moncton residents who turned out to the visitation. His family lives in the area that was locked down last week and he said it is important that the RCMP understands how much the public appreciates their service.
“Everywhere I went this week, I stopped, if I saw a police car I followed them and stopped and said, thank you,” he said.
“I think the best thing we could do is to say, thank you for taking care of our community and our children and my family.”
Paul Thebeau drove to Moncton from Shediac with his son for the visitation on Monday.
“I mean we love the RCMP because they're protecting us all the time. So we have to be here, it's our turn to show our respect,” Thebeau said.
The outpouring of public support for the RCMP has manifested itself in other ways since the deadly shootings.
There had been a call-out on Monday for Moncton residents to open up their homes to visiting RCMP and other law enforcement officers who will be attending the funeral.
Flood of offers as home billets arranged
The request had to be suspended due to the "overwhelming" response, according to the City of Moncton.
A volunteer organization arranged home billets so visiting officers have a place to stay. The group said on Monday it was getting about a call a minute from people offering to put visitors up in their homes.
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Official program for regimental funeral
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