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Canada cop killer suspect charged with murder

07 june 2014, 11:08
An artist's sketch shows Justin Bourque, 24, making his first court appearance in Moncton. ©Reuters/Veronick Roy
An artist's sketch shows Justin Bourque, 24, making his first court appearance in Moncton. ©Reuters/Veronick Roy

The suspect in the cold-blooded killing of three Canadian policemen was arrested after a 30-hour manhunt and charged Friday with murder and attempted murder, AFP reports.

Justin Bourque, who is accused of having carried out Wednesday's attack that also wounded two other officers, had forced authorities to put the eastern Canadian city of Moncton on lockdown as police searched for the man described as armed and dangerous.

The massive sweep ended when the 24-year-old Bourque finally surrendered, reportedly telling police, "I'm done."

During a brief court appearance reportedly under heavy guard, he was charged with three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

The shooting sent shockwaves rippling across Canada, which prides itself on being largely free of the gun violence that regularly plagues cities in the neighboring United States.

It was the worst tragedy to hit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since 2005, when four of its agents were killed in Alberta in the west.

Lockdown over 

"Justin Bourque was arrested by RCMP at 12:10 in Moncton. He is in police custody. Residents of north Moncton can now leave their homes," the RCMP said on Twitter.

Residents of Moncton, a city of 70,000 in New Brunswick province, had been forced to remain behind locked doors while police combed a wooded neighborhood with dogs, armored vehicles and aircraft for about 30 hours.

Moncton had become a ghost town as shops, schools and government buildings remained closed Thursday. Some people even left the city altogether.

In the end, Bourque surrendered to special operations police without a fight, said Michelle Thibodeau, who witnessed the arrest in her backyard.

"Justin came out with his hands up, and he said, 'I'm done,'" she told public broadcaster CBC.

Bourque was still dressed in the same military fatigues that he wore when he allegedly shot the five officers on Wednesday, and was dripping wet.

RCMP Superintendent Marlene Snowman told a press conference that Bourque was not carrying any weapons at the time of his arrest but that firearms had been recovered nearby.

Public broadcaster CBC reported that the suspect was discovered after he was spotted from the air, using infrared cameras.

Area residents reportedly cheered as they exited their homes after it all ended.

On Wednesday, witnesses said the shooter was armed with a hunting rifle and an automatic rifle when he opened fire on police officers on a Moncton street.

After receiving an emergency call about a man with guns in the street, police showed up in the north end residential neighborhood to an ambush.

One witness said she tried to warn one of the officers by banging on her window that the gunman was approaching him from behind. But it was too late.

The gunman then walked away, waving off civilians who tried to help the fallen officer.

'Great work, folks' 

Condolences poured in from across Canada and from police forces in the United States and Europe.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson praised his officers.

"Great work, folks. The results speak for themselves. You have restored order to your community," he said.

Of the victims, he said: "Their deaths are beyond comprehension. Their ultimate sacrifices will never be forgotten."

The fallen officers were identified as Constable David Ross, 32, whose wife is pregnant with their second child; Constable Douglas Larche, 40; and Constable Fabrice Gevaudan, 45, who had joined the RCMP after immigrating to Canada from France.

Constables Darlene Goguen and Eric Dubois were recovering from their injuries sustained in the shooting.

On what appeared to be his Facebook page, Bourque -- who lived in a local mobile home trailer park where residents expressed horror over the attack -- posted extracts from a song by American heavy metal band Megadeth just before the shooting.

He took letters from the refrain of the song and spelled out "freedom" accompanied by the words: "this spells out FREEDOM, it means nothing to me."

He also wrote about his love of guns and loathing of law enforcement officials, who said he had no previous run-ins with the law.

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