MONCTON, N.B. – Two years after they were shot and killed during a rampage in a Moncton, N.B. neighbourhood, three RCMP officers have been immortalized in a bronze sculpture as fathers, protectors, and heroes.
The monument, to be unveiled Saturday along the riverfront in Moncton, honours the Mounties who died, but also pays tribute to their wounded colleagues, families, fellow first responders and everyone impacted by the nightmare that unfolded on June 4, 2014.
“It is to recognize the three members for what they did, and all first responders in dealing with such a tragic event,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown. “The monument is spectacular.”
The bronze monument features life-size statues of constables Doug Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan.
Morgan MacDonald, the Newfoundland-based artist who created the monument, said he worked hard to respect the legacy and memory of the three men.
“The elements that are cast into the base of each monument, working with the wives, we have created in essence, a biography and lasting testament to who they were as men, and fathers and professionally what they did in their careers,” MacDonald said.
“When you see the bases it’s very subtle, but it’s going to mark some specific events and important things that happened in their lives. For me that’s the most special part of it.”
The three men were among the police officers who responded to a neighbourhood in the west end of the city following reports of a man with a gun. Justin Bourque strolled past civilian residents that he encountered, choosing only to shoot at police.
He was captured following a 30-hour manhunt that gripped the city with fear. Bourque is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 75 years.
“They were dark times when this happened, but now I think it’s an opportunity to say ‘OK, now we can move forward’,” said Isabelle LeBlanc, director of corporate communications for the City of Moncton.
“This will be a place people can go and reflect.”
The monument features the three men wearing different uniforms — Larche in the red serge, Gevaudan in the working patrol uniform, and Ross in the uniform of a dog master.
MacDonald incorporated items into the base of the monument to speak to who these men were beyond the uniform.
Larche, an avid runner, is surrounded by prints in the sculpture’s base made from his running shoes and medals that he won.
Gevaudan mastered a range of skills during his career, and there are imprints of challenge coins he earned for such things as becoming a member of the underwater recovery team.
Ross was a dog handler.
“We actually have the prints of Danny, his former dog. They are in the base next to him. The baby prints of Dave’s two sons are walking along with him, and (his wife) Rachel’s are there as well,” MacDonald said.
Around the statues is a maple leaf element, with leafs for each family, the area communities, and for local schools. Earlier this year, 1,500 people turned out to provide impressions of their thumb prints that were later cast into the bronze leafs.
The monument ceremony will be the last official duty for Brown, who is retiring after 36 years as a member of the RCMP. He said he hopes that as people view the monument in years to come, they will have a better understanding of who the three officers were.
“Hopefully looking closely at it, they will be able to see a dad, they’ll be able to see three members who had hobbies, three members who loved their families, three members who gave everything to family, community and so on,” Brown said.
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