FRED­ER­IC­TON SHOOT­ING

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Const. Robb Costello would of­ten tell his spouse that no mat­ter what hap­pened to him on the job, he would al­ways come home.On Fri­day, the Fred­er­ic­ton of­fi­cer didn’t re­turn.In­stead, po­lice showed up at Jackie McLean’s home to tell her the 45-year-old was among four peo­ple killed in a shoot­ing that took place in a quiet res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood.“This is the first day he did not come back home,” McLean, Costello’s com­mon­law part­ner said. “I am hav­ing a re­ally hard time en­vi­sion­ing my life with­out him.”Fred­er­ic­ton Po­lice Chief Leanne Fitch iden­ti­fied the dead of­fi­cers — a sea­soned warhorse and a re­cent re­cruit — as Lawrence Robb Costello, 45, a hus­band with four chil­dren, and Sara Mae Burns, 43, a wife with three chil­dren. They were the first of­fi­cers to ar­rive at the scene of the early-morn­ing shoot­ing and were shot as they rushed to two peo­ple ly­ing on the ground.“This is the worst mo­ment for any chief of po­lice in any po­lice agency to have to de­liver this news,” Fitch said at a news con­fer­ence Fri­day af­ter­noon.The shoot­ing left two more peo­ple dead — both civil­ians, a man and woman — but po­lice have not re­leased their iden­ti­ties. The ac­cused gun­man, a 48-year-old Fred­er­ic­ton man, is in hos­pi­tal. He has not been iden­ti­fied.The Na­tional Post has learned seven other peo­ple were wounded.Costello, a de­tec­tive known as Robb, worked on all man­ner of cases — miss­ing per­sons, rob­beries, street crimes, ex­tor­tion, sex crimes — as a mem­ber of Fred­er­ic­ton po­lice’s ma­jor crimes unit and while sec­onded to the RCMP’s in­ter­net child ex­ploita­tion unit. He was a 20-year vet­eran of the force.Here we go again. This time, there were five of them — Fred­er­ic­ton’s po­lice chief and deputy chief, the RCMP su­per­in­ten­dent now run­ning the homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the mayor of the lovely New Brunswick cap­i­tal city and the pre­mier of the prov­ince.This was more than eight hours af­ter the shoot­ing early Fri­day morn­ing that left four peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing two Fred­er­ic­ton po­lice of­fi­cers and two civil­ians, and may have seen as many as seven other civil­ians wounded.And yet among them, the five of­fi­cials had al­most noth­ing to say be­yond the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the two slain of­fi­cers — they were Const. Robb Costello, a 45-yearold vet­eran, and Const. Sara Burns, a 43-year-old new­bie with two years’ ex­pe­ri­ence on the job and two more as an aux­il­iary of­fi­cer.Be­tween them, the two of­fi­cers leave be­hind seven chil­dren.What the heck hap­pened at the four-build­ing Brook­side Drive apart­ment com­plex? What scant de­tail there was came from Fred­er­ic­ton Deputy Chief Martin Gaudet.The two of­fi­cers, he said, were re­spond­ing to a “shots fired” call, which had come in around the time of shift change, and hear­ing it, Costello and Burns “jumped in a cruiser and went to the scene.”Once on scene, about 7:10 a.m., they saw the “civil­ian vic­tims on the ground and that’s when they (the of­fi­cers) were shot.”Asked about other, in­jured vic­tims, Gaudet replied that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion “is on­go­ing.” Asked if the call was a do­mes­tic call, he re­peated that po­lice were re­spond­ing to a shots fired call. Asked about the weapon used by the shooter, whom Gaudet iden­ti­fied only as a 48-year-old Fred­er­ic­ton man, he gave no in­for­ma­tion.It was an On­tario Pre­mier Doug Ford-like press con­fer­ence, if you will — tightly con­trolled, with brief for­mal state­ments and a lim­ited num­ber of ap­pro­pri­ately re­spect­ful ques­tions al­lowed (by my count, about five) and a mi­nus­cule amount of in­for­ma­tion given.The other of­fi­cials spoke of the ter­ri­ble­ness of the day (Chief Leanne Fitch, who said it was “the worst mo­ment for any chief of po­lice”), asked for thoughts and prayers, and ex­pressed con­fi­dence that “we will heal” in time so long as “the big fam­ily that is Canada” pulls to­gether (Pre­mier Brian Gal­lant).Hon­est to Pete, in that big Cana­dian fam­ily, I am an out­lier, an or­phan, the aw­ful black sheep.I don’t want more thoughts and prayers, makeshift memo­ri­als, can­dle­light vig­ils (by mid­day, two were planned for Fred­er­ic­ton Fri­day night) or os­ten­si­bly stir­ring talk about Canadians coming to­gether.How about some hard, fac­tual in­for­ma­tion in a timely man­ner?The lo­cal hos­pi­tal, Hori­zon Health Net­work, gave more, say­ing it was treat­ing “mul­ti­ple vic­tims” re­lated to the shoot­ing and ask­ing Fred­er­ic­to­ni­ans to avoid go­ing to emer­gency if pos­si­ble.That was gen­er­ally con­firmed by Gerry Mckay, the build­ing man­ager for the low-rise, red-brick Brook­side com­plex where the shoot­ings took place.He told the Na­tional Post in a phone in­ter­view Fri­day, with typ­i­cal Mar­itime frank­ness and friend­li­ness, that he be­lieved seven peo­ple had been in­jured. He’d heard, he said, that the shooter (“I’m sorry, dear, but I can’t tell you that”) lived in the com­plex, as did, he be­lieved, the male civil­ian who’d been killed.The res­i­dents of the com­plex have been told they’ll be out of their apart­ments for sev­eral days, Mckay said, and had been taken at least tem­po­rar­ily to the Wil­lie O’Ree re­cre­ation com­plex.As ever, the gap be­tween the or­di­nary peo­ple of this coun­try and the in­sti­tu­tions they trust to pro­tect them is a chasm.While mul­ti­ple mur­der re­mains un­usual in Canada, it is hardly un­known. In 2014, af­ter all, less than two hours away by road, Justin Bourque killed three Moun­ties and wounded two oth­ers in a care­fully con­structed shoot­ing ram­page.Po­lice are of­ten the first to bear the brunt of mur­der­ous rage. When­ever of­fi­cers are killed in the line of duty, run­ning to­wards the sounds of shots fired as the two Fred­er­ic­ton con­sta­bles did, it is use­ful to re­mem­ber the words of the pre­vi­ous Cana­dian prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper.He wasn’t much for hugs and prayers. What he said at the fu­neral of the slain Moun­ties was this: “That is the un­der­stand­ing be­tween us: Their ser­vice, and our sup­port.”As is of­ten the case, I miss Harper’s tough­ness.

Po­lice re­spond to the scene in Fred­er­ic­ton, N.B., on Fri­day, where of­fi­cers Robb Costello and Sara Burns were killed. The ac­cused gun­man is in hos­pi­tal.

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