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The 2014 Moncton shootings were a series of shootings that took place on 4 June 2014 in Moncton, New Brunswick. Justin Bourque, a 24-year-old local, shot five officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), killing three and severely injuring two. Constables Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John (New Brunswick), Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville (Québec), and Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt (France), from the Codiac Regional RCMP detachment were killed in Moncton on 4 June 2014. The police officers had responded to a neighbourhood in the west end of the city following reports of a man with a gun. Bourque walked past civilian residents that he encountered, choosing only to shoot at police. Bourque was captured following a 30-hour manhunt that gripped the city with fear. The shooting was considered the deadliest attack on the RCMP since the Mayerthorpe (Alberta) tragedy in 2005 that left four RCMP officers dead and the worst one-day loss of life for the RCMP and the worst multiple-officer killing in contemporary Canadian history. Bourque is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 75 years.
In response to the shootings, the RCMP created an email for the public to send their condolences, and the RCMP Foundation set up a fund to donate money to the families of the fallen and injured officers. A regimental funeral was held on 10 June 2014 at the Moncton Coliseum, with nearly 3,000 police officers and many other mourners in attendance. On the second anniversary of the tragedy, 4 June 2016, a bronze monument featuring life-size statues of Constables Doug Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan was unveiled along the trail where Constable Larche used to run along the riverfront in Moncton. It is located in Riverfront Park off Assomption Boulevard next to the Petitcodiac River. As shown in the photograph, the monument features the three men walking in divergent directions and wearing different uniforms – Larche in the iconic Red Serge, Gevaudan in the working patrol uniform, and Ross in the uniform of a dog master. Selected from a shortlist of potential candidates, Newfoundland-based artist Morgan MacDonald (b. 1982) was selected and accepted the tremendous responsibility to create this monument to respect the legacy and memory of the three men. In order to get it right, the artist brought some the families of the deceased officers to his foundry in Logy Bay (Newfoundland) to discuss the project and to have them work with clay. People of the region were also invited to collaborate in its making. The details in each uniform, base of the statues and circular pedestal are intricate and reflect the personal input provided by the families and greater community. For example, one can clearly see boot laces, belt buckles, and clothing folds and wrinkles. Personal items can also be seen, including wedding rings, imprints of feet, hands, dog paws and challenge coins and awards that were earned, as well as items such as children's ballerina shoes, fishing tackle, and a locket necklace. Drawings, writings and poems -- in English and French -- were left behind on the bases by their loved ones. Surrounding the pedestal is a maple leaf motif whereby leaves were left for each family, the area communities, and for local schools. About 1,500 people turned out to provide impressions of their thumb prints that were later cast into the leaves. These marks of affection are ensconced for visitors to touch and feel so that their heroism and names will never be forgotten.
On this day, 4 June 2022, we commemorate the eighth anniversary of the death of Constables Doug Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan and mark five years since the unveiling of a monument erected in their honour in Moncton, New Brunswick.
André M. Levesque