Man charged with Canadian murders

Saturday 07 June 2014 20.37
Armed emergency response police officers were involved in the hunt for the gunman in Moncton
Armed emergency response police officers were involved in the hunt for the gunman in Moncton

A 24-year-old man has been charged with murder in the killings of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers during a shooting spree in the eastern Canadian city of Moncton.

Justin Bourque stood motionless in Moncton Provincial Court as a judge read out the charges, local media reported.

In addition to three counts of first-degree murder, Mr Bourque was charged with the attempted murder of two other Mounties who were hurt in the attacks, police said in a statement.

The rampage took place late on Wednesday.

Mr Bourque was arrested yesterday after a massive manhunt by police.

They had cordoned off a large area of Moncton, a city of about 70,000 people in the East Coast province of New Brunswick.

The shooting incident was one of the worst of its kind in Canada, where gun laws are stricter than in the United States and deadly attacks on police are rare.

The three Mounties killed were identified as Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45; David Joseph Ross, 32; and Douglas James Larche, 40.

The deaths prompted an outpouring of grief across Canada.

The last mass killing of Canadian police took place in Mayerthorpe in the western province of Alberta in 2005 when a gunman killed four Mounties before shooting himself.

Mr Bourque, whose next court date is 3 July, was named as a suspect late on Wednesday after the shootings.

Police said he had no previous criminal record.

Authorities said they were alerted on Wednesday afternoon by a member of the public who spotted an armed man in camouflage clothing walking down a residential street.

When police arrived, the man moved into nearby woods and opened fire.

Local media said Mr Bourque most recently worked at a survivalist equipment store.