MONCTON, N.B. – In the long hours after police locked down a big chunk of Moncton’s north end, Tim Holt’s world shrank as fast as his trepidation grew.
“I’ve just been locked in with my baby girl,” he said Thursday by telephone as his one-year-old daughter Leigha babbled in the background.
“I’ve got the radio and the news channel on. … I’ve been going from the backyard window to the front door and back to the backyard. It’s kind of ridiculous but it’s all I can do.”
The story was much the same for hundreds of other residents, who were told by police to stay in their homes and lock their doors after a gunman dressed in military garb allegedly killed three Mounties and injured two others.
“I’ve seen cop cars taking position all around the neighbourhood and the helicopter was buzzing overhead all night, and I hear it back in the air again,” said Holt, whose wife had worked late Wednesday and wasn’t allowed to join her family.
“My poor wife, she’s scared,” Holt said, adding that he’s received constant phone calls and text messages from her, concerned friends and family.
A few blocks away, Marjorie Jordan was locked in her mobile home, where she recounted what she believes was a close encounter with the alleged shooter, 24-year-old Justin Bourque, near her home.
“He was all camouflaged and I never even noticed he had guns,” she said in an interview. “I saw his picture on TV and in the paper, so I know it was him. … I didn’t notice the guns. They might have been back on his shoulders.”
Jordan said she had heard speculation that Bourque was living in the trailer park but she wasn’t sure.
“I don’t want to be bothered with half of the people in this place,” said Jordan, a 25-year resident of the Ryder mobile home park.
The owner of the park declined comment when asked about Bourque.
Neighbour Conrad Gagnon, 53, also said he saw the gunman in the trailer park shortly afterwards.
“I saw him walking … with his gun with him and he reached the woods at the back of the trailer park and after that we didn’t see anything,” said Gagnon. “I just thought maybe it’s somebody who wants to sell their gun or something.”
Gagnon said he was playing a video game in his living room when he spotted the man through a window.
“It was like he was meditating on something and talking … like somebody on drugs and living in his own world,” he said. “He was talking to himself. I saw his lips moving.”
Shortly afterwards, Gagnon said he heard gunfire.
“I heard five or six shots and after that another five or six shots,” he said.
Greg Doucette said the surreal nature of the police warnings and news reports became all too real when searchlights shone through his bedroom window in the middle of the night.
“You know when they’re searching your neighbourhood, that’s scary,” said Doucette, who spent much of Thursday watching the news and getting some office work done.
“I’ve heard that if you leave your zone they won’t let you back in,” he said. “You get a bit nervous when they tell you to close your blinds and not look out.”
— By Michael MacDonald in Halifax