Thousands mourn fallen Mounties
MONCTON, N.B.—A funeral procession for the three Mounties killed in the line of duty wound its way through Moncton earlier today with pipers and drummers leading the mourners, including police officers from across Canada and the U.S.
Four RCMP officers on horseback followed the 1.6-km-long procession, leading three hearses carrying the bodies of Csts. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, Douglas James Larche, and Dave Joseph Ross.
An estimated 2,700 officers took part in the procession.
As RCMP officers arrived inside the coliseum, people inside stood, applauding for at least half-an-hour.
In front of a stage were three large portraits of the dead officers, each in their dress uniform.
There also were three Canadian flags on the left and right sides of the stage, which is a raised platform on the concrete surface of an ice rink.
Public transit buses picked up officers in advance of the televised service, where Mayor George LeBlanc said between 5,000 and 7,000 officers were expected.
Brenda Jaillet, of Oromocto, N.B., said the shooting deaths have touched her husband, a retired RCMP officer.
“It’s a brotherhood,” Jaillet said outside the Moncton Coliseum. “What has affected these three members has affected him.
“It could have been him at any time during his career.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will speak at the service. Opposition leader Tom Mulcair, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, and Gov.-Gen. David Johnston also were scheduled to attend.
So many people were expected that six other sites in Moncton and four more outside the city have been set up where mourners can gather.
A public visitation service held yesterday drew hundreds of people.
Gevaudan, Larche, and Ross were gunned down last Wednesday evening after responding to a report of a man with firearms in a residential neighbourhood in the northwest area of Moncton.
Two other officers—Cst. Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen—were wounded and later released from hospital.
The shootings and the ensuing 30-hour manhunt for the alleged killer brought the city to a standstill until an arrest was made just after midnight Friday.
Justin Bourque, 24, of Moncton is facing three charges of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
He is scheduled to be in provincial court July 3.