An RCMP officer rests his head at a roadblock in Moncton, N.B. on Thursday, June 5, 2014. Three RCMP officers were killed and two injured by a gunman wearing military camouflage and wielding two guns on Wednesday. Police have identified a suspect as 24-year-old Justin Bourque of Moncton. The Canadian Press
The names of all three RCMP constables killed in the shooting rampage on the streets of Moncton, N.B., on Wednesday night were released this morning.
In a statement Friday, the officers were identified as:
- Const. Dave Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que.
- Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, who was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
- Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John.
"This is a trying time for our members as we have lost three of our own and two more are hospitalized,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown said in the statement.
“I commend our members for their dedication and professionalism as they were able to stay focused on the task at hand and getting results throughout this ordeal bringing the situation to a quick end. The work of our members was professional and effective. They deserve my utmost respect.”
Ross, a police dog trainer from Victoriaville, Que., joined the RCMP from Ottawa after graduation in 2007, and was posted to the detachment based in Moncton as a general duty police officer.
He was a married father of a 19-month-old with another baby on the way, his mother-in-law told CBC News on Thursday.
At a news conference on Friday afternoon, his mother Hélène Rousseau said her son died doing what he loved.
"I am a mother torn apart," she said in French. "My son was my hero. I am proud of him. I am proud of my son."
Rousseau said she found out her son had been shot after getting a call from his wife, and was initially told he was in the operating room.
"My mother's intuition told me he had already died," she said. "I just knew it was already over."
'I'll never forget it'
Bertha Darling, who lives next door to Ross and his wife, called the shooting of the officer "unbelievable, like a nightmare."
"It’s very hard because I seen him leaving for the call that evening. He was in the middle of barbecuing and had to leave everything. I found out that evening that he was gone," she said.
"I didn’t believe it until I seen it … I kept saying, ‘No, no, they made a mistake. It’s not David,'" she said.
Darling called Ross a "good man and a young father."
“He was a wonderful man, very kind, friendly," she said.
"He was the first one over when we had a flood … he had Tim Hortons coffee. Great father, he was out in the yard, we’d watch him with his little guy. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
She said it'll take some time before she once again feels safe in her own neighbourhood.
“I’ll never forget it. I’ll see in my mind him leaving, running with the dog. I’ll never forget that and the fear that it brought," she said.
"And everybody to be prisoners in their homes, that you couldn’t go out and know what was going to happen … I’ll never forget it. Never.”
'It's very painful'
Victoriaville Mayor Alain Rayes said flags in the city have been lowered to half-mast in solidarity with Ross’s family.
“It’s very painful for them,” he said. “It’s been 24 hours since they were informed ... so I can only imagine they’re having a very difficult time.”
Rayes said Ross left Victoriaville, located between Montreal and Quebec City, when he was 19 to pursue his dream of becoming an RCMP officer.
Family members say Ross had a longstanding goal of joining the national police force, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, and loved his job as an RCMP dog handler.
Rayes said Ross's death is devastating for his family and the community.
“It’s very sad,” he said. “I have three children myself and I know there’s a lot of sadness right now, a lot of anger seeing that events like this could still take place in our society in 2014.”
Brown said Larche worked in Miramichi before joining the detachment in the Moncton area as a highway patrol and general duty officer. He received a commander's commendation in 2008 for saving the life of an unconscious baby.
Gevaudan was born in France and joined the RCMP in Regina. He was posted to New Brunswick in 2008 after graduating from the training academy.
Brown said details about funeral arrangements for the three officers are expected to be released soon.
“With respect to funeral services, we work with the families on that," he said. "They deserve some time, some space to deal with what has to be dealt with.”
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said the days ahead will be difficult for RCMP members across the country.
"We will need time to mourn our fallen brothers and support their families through this tragedy," he said. "Their deaths are beyond comprehension. Their ultimate sacrifices will never be forgotten."
A candlelight vigil in honour of the officers is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. AT in front of the Codiac RCMP headquarters. Residents are asked to bring a candle, flashlight or glow stick.
'The start of a very long road'
Brown said the two officers wounded in the shootings, Constables Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Marie Darlene Goguen, are both recovering after undergoing surgery on Thursday.
“Both are recovering well and both are to be commended for the role that they played in this particular incident as well," he said.
“This is the start of a very long road for all of us … My thoughts and my prayers continually remain with the families of … the fallen officers who died in the line of duty, and our recovering officers. We should also include the members that evening who were on scene with those individuals. They continue to work through this process.”
Police apprehended the 24-year-old man suspected in the shootings early Friday morning.
Justin Bourque, from Moncton, was found in a wooded area near the intersection of Wheeler Boulevard and Mountain Road.
He surrendered without incident and remains in police custody.
Brown said it's expected criminal charges will be laid later today, the same day Bourque is also expected to make his first court appearance.
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