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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