Moun­ties re­call con­fused scene

Labour Code trial hears de­tails of Monc­ton mas­sacre

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton/Atlantic Business -

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.

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