Canada shooting: Gunman on the loose after three police officers shot dead in gun battle

Police released this picture of suspect Justin Bourque after the shootout

A man suspected of shooting dead three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and injuring two others in the Canadian city of Moncton was spotted three times on Thursday, but has not yet been caught, police said.

24-year-old Justin Bourque was spotted in three different locations around the search area in Moncton, said RCMP Commander Marlene Snowman. At one point, he was seen coming in and out of a wooded area, Snowman added.

Police said he was dressed in military camouflage and carrying high powered long firearms, ammunition and other items.

Residents of Moncton, a city of about 69,000 people around 95 miles (150 kilometers) northeast of St. John, New Brunswick, have been warned to stay inside and lock their doors after Bourque went on a shooting rampage shortly before 19.20 local time (22:20 GMT).

Schools and government offices were closed, and the city halted its bus network. Mail delivery was also suspended.

Heavily armed RCMP officers were joined by police from across the country in combing streets and woods in search of the suspect on Thursday.

"Quite honestly I don't know where he is at this time," said RCMP Commanding Officer Roger Brown.

Brown said two officers underwent surgery for non-life threatening wounds in hospital Thursday and he met with the families of the officers who were shot.

Dramatic footage of what appears to be the shooting has also appeared today showing residents hiding in their houses as they watch a gunfight between police and the shooter. People are shown shouting and screaming as shots ring out on the street outside.

Police road blocks have been set up in the area and drivers have been warned to stay away.

In a macabre twist to the story a Facebook page, which appears to belong to the suspect, was active shortly before and during the city-wide manhunt.

A post written 11 hours ago by Justin Bourque from Moncton featured the lyrics to the Megadeth song 'Hook in Mouth.'

'Don't try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come. / I believe my kingdom will come,' the Facebook user wrote.

The account profile features a picture of two men holding rifles and standing in a wooded area and posts on the site make repeated reference to the right to bear arms and weaponery.  A number of posts appear to also display a dislike of the government and police.

Bizarrely the Facebook user appears to have added two new friends to his account whilst on the run from police.

Meanwhile, a former colleague of the alleged gunman has described how he "wanted to go out with a bang and bring people with him".

Caitlin Isaac, who according to Business Insider, worked with Bourque at Walmart said that Bourque wanted to "give people something to remember him for", and "always had a problem with authority". She claims he was fired from his job for "attitude related issues".

The hunt for Justin Bourque has continued today.

"We are still actively looking for the shooter," Police Constable Damien Theriault told Associated Press.

"He is believed to still be in the Pinehurst subdivision area of Moncton. We are urging people in that area to stay inside and lock their doors and for people to stay away from that area."

Mr Theriault broke down when asked by reporters how he was dealing with grief, excusing himself from the press conference.

VIDEO: Shooting captured by witness (Contains strong language)

Witness Danny Leblanc, 42, said he saw the shooter in the distance on Wednesday evening, wearing a camouflage outfit and standing in the middle of the street with his gun pointed at police cars.

The construction worker said he believed it was an RCMP officer until he heard a burst of automatic gunfire coming from the man's gun.

He said he quickly retreated into his home and remained there with his family. At one point a neighbor posted on social media that their kitchen window was shattered by gunfire.

Leblanc said few people on his normally quiet street were sleeping as they awaited word at midnight on whether an arrest had been made.

Word that police had been killed shocked the city, Leblanc said.

"It's devastating. I don't know if he was on a hunt for them, or what," he said.

A car sits on a road with it's windows shot out and blood on the ground A car sits on a road with it's windows shot out and blood on the ground

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc urged all residents to pay strict attention to the RCMP warnings.

"It is a terrible tragedy," he said. "We as a city must pull together as a family to support those who have suffered losses."

Such violence is rare in Canada, particularly on Canada's East Coast. Theriault said the city of Moncton didn't have a homicide last year or this year until Wednesday evening.

"We have been blessed until this point," he told The Associated Press.

In a statement, New Brunswick Premier David Alward said he was "shocked and saddened".

"I would ask New Brunswickers, particularly in those areas identified by police, to follow the situation as it develops and to listen to the advice of police," he said.

The shootings are likely to remind Canadians of a similiar incident in he western Canadian province of Alberta in 2005 where four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were killed.

It was the deadliest attack on Canadian police officers in 120 years.

They had been investigating a farm in Mayerthrope, a hamlet in Alberta, when a man shot them. The gunman was killed.

A police car with its rear window smashed A police car with its rear window smashed

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - South West

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - IT - Fixed Term, Part Time

£17340 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Come and join one of the UK's leading ca...

Recruitment Genius: Property Sales Consultant - Chinese Speaking - OTE £70,000

£18000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity for a Fluent Chines...

Recruitment Genius: AV Installation Engineer

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to business growth, this is...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent