Police among shooting victims
4 killed in New Brunswick shooting include 2 officers
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s usually quiet capital city erupted in violence Friday, as two police officers responding to a shooting arrived to find two victims — and were then fatally shot themselves. The victims include Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns and two civilians — a man and a woman — who remain unidentified, police said.
“This is the worst moment for any chief of police in any police agency to have to deliver this news,” Police Chief Leanne Fitch told a news conference.
A Fredericton hospital was treating “multiple victims,” but police would not say how many people were injured in the incident, in a residential area on the city’s north side.
Police said they have a 48-yearold Fredericton man in custody who was being treated for serious injuries. They would not reveal what kind of firearm was used.
Deputy police chief Martin Gaudet said the two officers responded to the area around 7:10 a.m. and found two victims on the ground, an adult man and woman.
“That’s when they (the officers) were shot,” he said during a news conference.
He had no information on any others who were hurt.
“There were many officers in and around the building at that time, so when the call came in shots fired, officers jumped in a cruiser and attended the scene. They were the initial officers on scene.”
Costello, 45, was a 20-year police veteran with four children, while Burns, 43, had been an officer for two years and was married with three children.
Jackie McLean, Costello’s common-law partner, says a police inspector told family members the news Friday morning.
“He loved being a police officer and he lived for being a police officer,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview.
Residents said the incident began at about 7 a.m. at an apartment complex on Brookside Drive.
Tim Morehouse said he was in his apartment when he heard someone shout: “Shut up! Shut up!”
He said he heard two gunshots, and then three more. He said he looked out his window and saw the body of a man on the ground, in the back parking lot of 237 Brookside Dr.
“I hear more shots and looked out and there’s two police officers on the ground. I called 911 and they came and checked on them and they were shot,” he said.
David MacCoubrey said he awoke in his Brookside Drive apartment at 7:07 a.m. to the sound of gunshots “10 metres from my bed.”
MacCoubrey said three gunshots woke him up, and as many as 17 more were fired between that time and around 8:30 a.m.
“It sounded like the first one came from right outside my bedroom window . . . I was hoping for the two seconds that I was groggy, that it was kids blowing off firecrackers,” said MacCoubrey in a phone interview from inside his apartment, where he was sitting on the floor away from windows.
“Then two more happened within the first three minutes.”
He said the apartment complex has four buildings in a square, and it sounded like the shots were coming from the middle of the complex.
MacCoubrey said police had searched the buildings and went through his apartment.
“I saw an armoured vehicle out in the courtyard and I opened up my window to see if I could hear anything and the shots started again,” he said. “I’m not scared in the least. I’m angry. I don’t like the violence . . . I’m worried for the other people around me.”
A large group of Fredericton police officers gathered outside the Chalmers hospital, and they appeared to be consoling each other. They watched as the hospital’s New Brunswick and Canadian flags were lowered to half-mast.
By Friday afternoon, a memorial of flowers and messages was growing in front of the Fredericton police station.
A vigil was held Friday evening at which more than 100 mourners packed into St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the investigation has been turned over to the RCMP.