Manhunt Still Ongoing
Police in Moncton say finding and arresting a heavily armed man Justin Bourque is their "top priority" after three RCMP officers were killed and two were wounded in shootings Wednesday night.
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Cpl. Chantal Farrah made the comment during a news conference on the manhunt for the suspected shooter, Justin Bourque, 24, in the southeastern New Brunswick city.
"Our top priority is to locate and arrest the suspect, as well as to resolve the situation as soon as possible," Farrah told reporters.
"The safety of the residents as well as that of our police officers involved in this operation is extremely important to us."
"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 on Thursday, Supt. Marlene Snowman said.
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.
Police also warned people to expect roadblocks and traffic disruptions. Schools and government offices were closed, buses were pulled off the roads, and surgeries at the Moncton Hospital were cancelled.
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.