Mounties recall confused scene
Labour Code trial hears details of Moncton massacre
A hushed Moncton courtroom heard the alarmed voice Wednesday of a senior Mountie calling for help as “heavily out-armed’’ officers tried to track a gunman out to assassinate police.
“We’re going to need everything we’ve got,’’ Cpl. Peter MacLean pleaded in a June 4, 2014, recording played at the RCMP’s Labour Code trial. “We’re heavily out-armed here.’’
Then, to other officers, MacLean radioed: “Keep cover guys. He’s got long guns. Ours are too short for him. We don’t have the artillery for this.’’
MacLean testified Wednesday that officers “didn’t have anything to match’’ Justin Bourque’s semi-automatic rifle in the Moncton massacre, which left three Mounties dead and two others wounded.
MacLean was one of three responding RCMP officers who took the stand Wednesday in Moncton provincial court.
They described a chaotic response to the shooting spree with scarce resources — two officers argued over a hard-body armour suit, insisting the other take it for the sake of her children — broken communication and general lack of co-ordination.
The RCMP is accused of failing to provide members and supervisors with the appropriate information, instruction, equipment and training in an active-shooter event.
Witnesses said reports of a camouflaged man carrying two long guns initially didn’t raise too much alarm. Codiac RCMP often received calls about misguided hunters or kids carrying realistic toy guns, they said.
As soon as reports of live gunfire came in, Cpl. Jacques Cloutier, who was acting sergeant for the detachment while the command post was unfilled, testified he sent everyone in the office to the scene.
The chatter over the radio became more “active,’’ Cloutier said, so he asked for an update. An officer called him to say that Const. Fabrice Gevaudan “was gone.’’
“I asked ... ‘Tell me, well, where did he go?’ and I realized what he meant,’’ Cloutier told the court. “For five seconds, I was kind of numb.’’
MacLean told the court that he and another officer “hopscotched’’ through the residential neighbourhood — one providing cover, while the other darted through a backyard — trying to conceal themselves as they searched for the shooter.
MacLean had lost his radio during the pursuit, so he took Gevaudan’s as officers futilely tried to revive him, he said.