From left, Cst. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John, N.B., Cst. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victiriaville, Que., and Cst. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt, France were killed in Moncton, N.B. on June 4, 2014. Justin Bourque, 24, (not pictured) has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the fatal shootings that also left two others injured. RCMP
The family of Dave Ross, one of three RCMP constables killed in the shooting rampage on the streets of Moncton, N.B., remembered him on Friday as an avid hunter-fisherman who, just days before he was slain, called his mother to remind her how much he loved her.
"I'm proud of my son," Hélène Rousseau told reporters in French about Ross, a police dog services handler with the Codiac RCMP. "He loved his work … he lived and breathed his work."
Ross was a father and a man "who had a great amount of faith," she said.
Reflecting on her last phone call with her son, Rousseau said she remembered speaking with him earlier this month on a video chat and watching him interact with her grandson.
"I saw so much love in his eyes. I'll remember it as a good memory," she said.
"Two days before his death, before we hung up, he said, 'Mom, never forget that I love you.'"
Ross was named among three RCMP officers killed in the Moncton shooting. Two other officers were wounded. RCMP say both of the injured Mounties, constables Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Marie Darlene Goguen, have since been released from hospital.
In a statement Friday, the three slain 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.”
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 Friday's news conference, his mother said her son died doing what he loved.
"I am a mother torn apart," she said. "My son was my hero."
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."
Ross's younger brother described the fallen constable as a nature and animal lover.
"He was my idol," Olivier Rousseau said, adding that the two were close despite the difference in their ages.
"For his family, he would do anything."
Cynthia Ross, the officer's sister, said the saddest part is her brother will never know his second child.
"I know he's in heaven," she said, thanking the community for its support. "Pray for us, and for Dave's wife, too."
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.
Victoriaville Mayor Alain Rayes said flags in the city have been lowered to half-mast in solidarity with Ross’s family, and that Victoriaville residents are being asked to leave their porch lights on to honour the dead and injured in the shooting.
“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.”
'Don't let it be Douglas'
The RCMP said Larche worked in Miramichi, N.B., 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.
Larche's aunt, Penny Larche, told CBC News she remembered "Dougie" as a happy-go-lucky soul with a gentle manner and a perpetual smile.
"Just a nice, handsome man," she said from her cottage north of Gatineau, Que., adding that Larche was a father of three girls who was recruited to the RCMP when he was about 30. He was following in the footsteps of his father, a retired Mountie, she said.
When news of Wednesday's shooting in Moncton reached her, she said, she braced for the worst.
"I heard it on the radio and all the way coming into Ottawa, I kept going, 'Don't let it by Douglas, don't let it be Douglas,' and then my husband phoned," she said. "That's how I found out."
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'
Constables Dubois and Goguen, who are now recovering out of hospital, are expected to be commended for their response during the shooting, Brown 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.
Bourque made his first court appearance today, where he was charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Neither the Crown nor the defence has sought a psychiatric evaluation, and his next court appearance is expected to be July 3 at 9:30 a.m. AT.
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