Police warn, inform, update public about Moncton shooter

(Canada) : RCMP officers continued late into Thursday afternoon hunting for a heavily armed lone gunman who allegedly shot and killed three Mounties and wounded two others in Moncton, New Brunswick.

“At present, our search for the suspect is still ongoing,” RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Chantal Farrah told reporters at a press conference, noting that the search is still primarily in the northern area of the city.

Numerous specialized police resources are involved in the search, she said, including canine units, tactical armored vehicles, and major crimes, including officers from around the province.

One of the two injured officers has been released from hospital, she said, while the another remains there. She would not disclose the names of the three officers who were killed Wednesday evening.

She said residents in that community should continue to keep their doors locked and not publicize any information about police activity in the area. “This is vital,” Cpl. Farrah said. She would not discuss whether the family of Mr. Bourque was cooperating with police.

RCMP officers have been hunting since Wednesday evening for Justin Bourque, the heavily armed lone gunman who allegedly shot and killed three Mounties and wounded two others.

Emergency response team members had surrounded a rooming house and several residents emerged with their hands up, the Telegraph Journal reported. Multiple snipers appeared to have been in position.

Two eyewitnesses to the standoff, who arrived after the residents left the house, were standing outside a bowling alley directly across the rooming home just a couple hundred feet away. They said a small, black robot played a large role in the police sweep.

But despite all the commotion and tension, by about 3:30 PM local time, the officers had retreated from the standoff and the armoured cars and trucks peeled off, leaving the anxious spectators down the road curious as to what had transpired.

The force said via Twitter that officers continue to search for Mr. Bourque.

Pressed about the suspect possibly tracking the investigation through social media, Cpl. Farrah said that the less information the public divulges about the investigation online, the better. “Just as people at home are following every move, we have to think it’s possible that others are doing the same,” she said.

Mr. Bourque was spotted once on Thursday morning, RCMP said on Thursday, hours after a bloody shootout shocked the sleepy city and the entire country. In addition, police said there were two other unconfirmed sightings.

“This is working through your worst nightmare,” said Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, the RCMP’s commanding officer in New Brunswick, later adding: “This is a very, very dangerous situation as we speak. … We have not apprehended the individual and we need to stay vigilant as we move forward.”

The victims were gunned down in an ambush, police sources told The Globe and Mail.

RCMP did not identify the fallen officers, saying that some relatives were still being notified. Assistant Commissioner Brown said one had three children.

Police said Mr. Bourque was not known to them, meaning he has not had previous brushes with the law.

Moncton was under a virtual siege on Thursday as heavily armed RCMP officers from around the region conducted an intense manhunt for Mr. Bourque. He was wearing military camouflage and carrying two high-powered rifles along with other weapons in a photo taken on Wednesday that was circulated by police.

Schools, government offices and public transit were closed for the day. Police staffed roadblocks and checked cars for any sign of the suspect.

Residents of a large portion in the northwest part of Moncton, which includes a heavily wooded area, were ordered to stay inside and to lock their doors. Police appealed to citizens to report any sightings of Mr. Bourque or leads that may help identify his whereabouts.

“There’s no question that we’re going to continue this search in order to apprehend him at all costs,” said Superintendent Marlene Snowman, commanding officer of the Greater Moncton RCMP. “And hopefully with no other injuries or deaths.”

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