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Moncton shooter captured

Unconfirmed video apparently shows accused Moncton shooter being arrested, special to Castanet.

With files from the Canadian Press.

UPDATE 9:27 P.M. 

The RCMP say they have arrested the suspect in a shooting in Moncton, N.B., that has left three Mounties dead and two others injured.

Paul Greene, a spokesman with the RCMP, says Justin Bourque was arrested at around 12:30 a.m. today.

The 24-year-old Bourque was wanted after the shooting Wednesday evening in the northwest area of the city.

New Brunswick RCMP tweeted: "Justin Bourque arrested by RCMP at 12:10 [a.m.] in Moncton. He is in police custody. Residents of north Moncton can now leave their homes."


UPDATE 9:17 P.M.

Details are unconfirmed, but several sources are reporting the shooter in Moncton has been taken into custody.

A Twitter user named Michelle Thibodeau, using the handle @YourMichelle tweeted the following: "The swat team arrived at my house and unloaded and started screaming in my backyard for him to surrender and he did. I watched it happen."

"They had him sprawling on my front lawn for some time and then loaded him into the swat vehicle. They are now checking my yard for firearms."

Thibodeau said she heard him say "I'm done," and came out with his arms raised.

Check back for updates.


UPDATE 4:44 P.M.

A nerve-racking search for a heavily armed gunman in Moncton entered its second day Thursday evening after he allegedly shot three New Brunswick Mounties dead and injured two others in one of the worst mass shootings in the RCMP's history.

The suspect, Justin Bourque, 24, was last spotted Thursday morning but he evaded capture after he went into a wooded area, the RCMP said.

"This is working through your worst nightmare," Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, the Mounties' commanding officer in New Brunswick, told a news conference.

Brown appealed for public calm in a city that has been under a virtual siege since Wednesday evening.

"This is a very, very dangerous situation," he said.

Officers were unable to confirm the identity of the suspect on two other occasions when he might have been sighted Thursday, Supt. Marlene Snowman said.

As the day turned to dusk, the RCMP asked residents for the second night in a row to turn on their exterior lights in an effort to help their search.

Police including tactical officers began their manhunt for the shooter Wednesday at around 7:30 p.m. when they responded to a call about a man walking along a road with what was believed to be a gun.

After the call, shots were fired and officers called for backup, Snowman said.

Brown said police officers from across the country have been brought in to help arrest the suspect.

"The RCMP family is hurting," he said. "Greater Moncton is hurting as is New Brunswick as is our country."

Police urged people with any information on Bourque's whereabouts to call 911. The Moncton man was wearing military camouflage and carrying two rifles in a picture of him released by police on Twitter on Wednesday night.

Snowman said Bourque was carrying high-powered firearms, is not known to the police and investigators were trying to piece together his background.

Residents in the area where police searched were urged to stay inside their homes and lock their doors.

The RCMP released a map of a large swath of the northwest section of the city, including a heavily wooded area, where they wanted people to remain indoors.

In the afternoon, a large number of police officers could be seen in a part of the perimeter with their weapons drawn, some peeking around buildings. Others were patrolling streets within the cordoned off area. Armoured security trucks were also visible.

Officers, including members of a tactical unit, were seen in front of one building.

Police also warned people to expect roadblocks and traffic disruptions. Schools and government offices were closed, buses were pulled off the roads, and surgeries were cancelled Thursday and Friday.

Brown said the two wounded officers underwent surgery in hospital Thursday. Cpl. Chantal Farrah later said that one of those officers was released. The injuries suffered by the other officer were not considered life-threatening.

Brown said he met with the families of the officers who were shot earlier in the day.

"As you can all imagine, they're hurting," said Brown. "There's actually no way to describe the level of hurt."

The identities of the officers who were shot have not been released.

People laid flowers in a makeshift memorial on the doorsteps of the local RCMP detachment. One of the bouquets was wrapped in a ribbon reading, "Fallen heroes."

Mayor George LeBlanc was visibly shaken by what happened in his normally quiet city of 69,000.

"Never in my darkest dreams did I ever think that we would be facing what we're facing today in Moncton," he told a news conference. "If this can happen in Moncton, it can happen anywhere."

Premier David Alward implored residents to heed the RCMP's warnings.

"It's so important that people stay locked down in their homes and stay off the streets and allow the RCMP to do their job," Alward said in an interview.

"My heart goes out to the families of the fallen officers and the wounded officers as well. My heart goes out to the community right now, to the families who are locked down and I can't imagine the feeling that people are going through."

Dewayne Beers, 46, said he saw a bloodied female officer taken away from a police vehicle with a shattered window across from his home.

Beers said it was shocking to look out his window on the usually tranquil, dead-end street and see an RCMP officer bleeding and being supported as she was helped into a police SUV.

"It's quite traumatic," he said. "We stayed here because it's safe to raise a family here."

Beers said the car she was sitting in was still parked across from his house on Penrose Street as of Thursday afternoon — a stark reminder of a nightmarish and sleepless evening the day before.

Daniel St. Louis, a commercial photographer in Moncton, was among the first on the scene Wednesday around 8:30 p.m. when he came across two police vehicles on different streets with blood visible inside.

He said no one was around, except for a few curious neighbours peeking through their front doors.

One of the vehicles, a marked police cruiser, was surrounded by shattered glass. The other, an unmarked SUV with its lights still on and the driver's side door left open, had several bullet holes through its front windshield.

St. Louis, 51, said he saw something shortly after that will always haunt him.

"I walked over and I saw two feet, facing the street, toes up," he said. "I realized, 'Oh my God. There's somebody down.' As I got close, I realized it was an officer and this is not a good situation."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of those affected by the shootings.

"This should obviously remind us that our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect us as Canadians," Harper said while in Brussels.

In the House of Commons, MPs observed a moment's silence and the flag over the Peace Tower flew at half-mast.

The shootings in Moncton evoked memories of an RCMP tragedy in Mayerthorpe, Alta., nine years ago when Constables Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, Lionide (Leo) Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol and Peter Christopher Schiemann were shot and killed.


UPDATE 12:20 P.M. 

The search continues for the armed man believed to have killed three mounties and injured two others.

RCMP in a small community just outside of Moncton, NB conducted a search after a report of a suspicious male in a structure which turned out to be unrelated to the shooting. 

Officials will be updating the media at 4:30 p.m. EST. 

We will have more details as the become available.


ORIGINAL STORY

An RCMP manhunt for a gunman suspected of killing three Mounties and wounding two others passed the 12-hour mark today in Moncton as a large section of the New Brunswick city was under a virtual siege.

Heavily armed RCMP officers patrolled the small city overnight in the search for 24-year-old Justin Bourque, a Moncton man who was wearing military camouflage and carrying two rifles in a picture of him released by police on Twitter.

Late Wednesday, the RCMP in New Brunswick tweeted a photo of the suspect, who they said was armed and dangerous. They urged anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 911.

The two injured officers were being treated for wounds that the RCMP described as non life-threatening.

The RCMP released a map of a large portion of the northwest section of the city, including a heavily wooded area, where they wanted people to remain inside with their doors locked.

They warned people to expect roadblocks and traffic disruptions. Schools and government offices were closed, and the city pulled its buses off the roads.

The RCMP have scheduled a news conference for 10:45 a.m. today to provide an update on the manhunt.

Late Wednesday night, Const. Damien Theriault broke down in tears at a media briefing as he spoke of the deaths of his three colleagues.

"We are professionals," Theriault said. "We will ensure the security of the public. We are going to do that."

He said police believed the suspect was at large in the Pinehurst subdivision area of the city early on Thursday morning. Police first responded at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, he said.

Premier David Alward implored residents to heed the RCMP's warnings to stay inside their homes.

"It's so important that people stay locked down in their homes and stay off the streets and allow the RCMP to do their job," Alward said.

"My heart goes out to the families of the fallen officers and the wounded officers as well. My heart goes out to the community right now, to the families who are locked down and I can't imagine the feeling that people are going through."

Daniel St. Louis, a commercial photographer in Moncton, was among the first on the scene Tuesday around 8:30 p.m. when he came across two police vehicles on different streets with blood visible inside.

He said no one was around, except for a few curious neighbours peeking through their front doors.

One of the vehicles, a marked police cruiser, was surrounded by shattered glass. The other, an unmarked SUV with its lights still on and the driver's side door left open, had several bullet holes through its front windshield.

St. Louis said he saw something shortly after that will always haunt him.

"I walked over and I saw two feet, facing the street, toes up," said St. Louis, 51. "I realized, 'Oh my God. There's somebody down.' As I got close, I realized it was an officer and this is not a good situation."

St. Louis said he doesn't know what to make of the tragedy unfolding in the city of about 69,000.

"Our quiet little city, what is going on here?" he said. "How is this happening to us? It always happens to somebody else."

Danny Leblanc, 42, said he saw the shooter in the distance Wednesday evening, wearing a camouflage outfit and standing in the middle of the street with a gun pointed at police cars.

The construction worker said he believed it was an RCMP officer until he heard a burst of automatic gunfire coming from the man's gun.

"That guy was standing on the road afterwards and he was looking towards us," he said.

He said he quickly retreated into his home with his family, adding a neighbour posted on social media that a kitchen window was shattered by gunfire.

Leblanc said few people on his normally quiet street were sleeping as they awaited word at midnight on whether arrests had been made.

"It's just crazy," he said.

The deaths of the three officers has shocked the city, he added.

"It's devastating. I don't know if he was on a hunt for them, or what."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of those affected by the shootings.

"This should obviously remind us that our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect us as Canadians," Harper said while in Brussels.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and also the others wounded in this terrible incident."

Mayor George LeBlanc also offered his condolences to the families of the police officers who were killed and those who were injured.

"It is a terrible tragedy," he said.

"We as a city must pull together as a family to support those who have suffered losses."

Sean Gallacher, who lives near the area where police were concentrating their search, said he heard what he now believes were gunshots but initially thought his daughter had dropped some toys on the floor above him.

"I was downstairs and heard a few bangs," said Gallacher, 35.

"I went to check but she hadn't dropped anything. Then I heard the news and realized what it actually was."

The RCMP confirmed the deaths of the three officers on Twitter at about 11 p.m.

Based on information from the RCMP's Honour Roll page on its website, the last Mountie to die from a gunshot was Const. Douglas Scott on Nov. 5, 2007. He was shot while responding to a call for help involving an impaired driver at Kimmirut, Nunavut.

The most recent police officer killed in the line of duty was Const. Steve Dery of the Kativik police force in northern Quebec. Dery, 27, was shot and killed after he and another constable responded to a domestic violence call on March 2, 2013.

The shootings in Moncton also brought back memories of an RCMP tragedy in Mayerthorpe, Alta., on March 3, 2005, when Constables Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, Lionide (Leo) Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol and Peter Christopher Schiemann were shot and killed.

Officials with the Horizon Health Network said the Moncton Hospital was treating two people who were listed in stable condition. The hospital was placed on Code Orange after the shootings to prepare it to handle multiple casualties as extra staff were brought in.

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