MONCTON New Brunswick (Reuters) - Mourners gathered in the eastern Canadian city of Moncton, New Brunswick on Tuesday for the funerals of three police officers killed by a gunman last week.
Justin Bourque, 24, was arrested early Friday after a 30-hour manhunt that paralyzed the city of 70,000. He has been charged with three counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. In addition to the three slain officers, two others were shot and injured.
Thousands of mourners and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in their iconic red serge uniforms filled the Moncton Coliseum hockey arena to pay their respects to Fabrice Gévaudan, 45, Douglas Larche, 40, and Dave Joseph Ross, 32.
“I stand here before you with an unbearable sadness, disbelief, rage, because a great man was taken away from us far too soon,” Larche’s brother, Daniel Larche, said in a eulogy.
Ross, father to a 19-month-old toddler with another on the way, dropped everything late Wednesday to respond to reports of a gunman on the loose, leaving the barbecue lid open in the middle of dinner preparations, his brother-in-law told the crowd.
While there have been several instances of multiple shootings by lone gunmen in the United States over the last few years, such incidents are rare in Canada, where gun laws are stricter than in the U.S.
The murders were the first in Moncton since 2012.
“Of course, the justice system will do its work, the facts will be established and a verdict delivered,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told mourners.
“But let me tell you this: With three men dead, cut down in their prime, doing their sworn duty to serve and protect their neighbors, we don’t need a verdict to know that what happened here is an outrage.”
Bourque’s next court date is July 3.
Writing by Cameron French