FREDERICTON – Fredericton police have identified two police officers who were among four people killed in a shooting today in a residential area on the city’s north side.
Police Chief Leanne Fitch says the victims include Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sarah Burns and two civilians — a man and a woman — who remain unidentified.
Costello was 45 years old and had 20 years of service. Burns was 43 with two years of service on the force. She spent an additional two years as an auxiliary officer.
Jackie McLean, Costello’s wife, says a police inspector told the family this morning that her common-law partner was among the dead. McLean says the couple had been together for four years and Costello has two adult daughters from a previous relationship.
A 48-year-old man is in custody. Police said there was no further threat to the public. The suspect is being treated for serious injuries.
Police said the names of the shooting victims were not yet being released.
“Please appreciate this is a difficult time for their families and our colleagues,” the force tweeted, adding that more information would be released when they’re able.
Of the four people killed in this morning's shootings on Brookside Drive, two were Fredericton Police officers. No names are being released at this time. Please appreciate this is a difficult time for their families and our colleagues. We will provide more info when we can.
— Fredericton Police (@CityFredPolice) August 10, 2018
Police went to a residential complex in the Brookside Drive area at about 7 a.m. local time.
David MacCoubrey said he awoke in his Brookside Drive apartment at 7:07 a.m. to the sound of gunshots “10 metres from my bed.”
MacCoubrey said three gunshots woke him up, and as many as 17 more were fired between that time and around 8:30 a.m.
“It sounded like the first one came from right outside my bedroom window … I was hoping for the two seconds that I was groggy that it was kids blowing off firecrackers,” said MacCoubrey in a phone interview from inside his apartment, where he was sitting on the floor away from windows.
“Then two more happened within the first three minutes.”
He said his apartment complex has four buildings in a square, and it sounded like the shots were coming from the middle of the complex.
Tim Morehouse, another resident of the complex, said he heard someone shout: “Shut up! Shut up!”
He said he heard two gunshots, and then three more. He said he looked out his window and saw the body of a man on the ground, in the back parking lot of 237 Brookside.
He called 911, then he heard more shots and he looked out his window and saw two police officers on the ground.
We can confirm that there is no further threat to the public, and lockdowns are not required at this time.
Police still have the crime scene contained, and will be working the investigation for some time. Thank you for your patience.
— Fredericton Police (@CityFredPolice) August 10, 2018
Louise Kennedy, 75, who lives with her dog at 237 Brookside Drive, said the shooting began in the building next door at about 7 a.m. AT.
“I am just shaking? I am scared to death,” she said.
“The police were here earlier and wanted me to leave, but I said I couldn’t leave my dog behind. The police officer told me to stay away from the windows and to lock the doors.”
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant tweeted his condolences to the victims and their families.
“During this difficult time, our thoughts are also with the courageous women and men on the front lines working to keep us safe,” said Gallant.
On behalf of all New Brunswickers, I offer my condolences, thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. During this difficult time, our thoughts are also with the courageous women and men on the front lines working to keep us safe.
— Brian Gallant (@BrianGallantNB) August 10, 2018
Earlier Friday morning, police had asked people in the area to stay inside with their doors locked, and not to post information on social media about the position or activities of police.
MacCoubrey said police had searched the buildings and went through his apartment.
“I saw an armoured vehicle out in the courtyard and I opened up my window to see if I could hear anything and the shots started again,” he said.
“I’m not scared in the least. I’m angry. I don’t like the violence … I’m worried for the other people around me.”
Three blocks of Brookside Drive had been blocked off, with emergency vehicles at both ends and curious neighbours gathered.
A worker at a business a few blocks from where the shootings are believed to have occurred didn’t want to be identified, but she said police had already cordoned off the area by the time she got to work.
“There’s still an access road out of here but we couldn’t go anywhere near where it’s occurring,” she said. “They (police) have all major intersections cordoned off with emergency vehicles.”
RELATED ARTICLE: A timeline of the deadly shooting in Fredericton
Travis Hrubeniuk, 27, said his fiancee had just left for work around 7:45 a.m. when he began hearing a steady stream of sirens.
The Winnipeg native, who lives immediately off Brookside, said residents have been advised to stay inside with their doors locked.
The quiet residential neighbourhood, dominated by houses, grocery stores, a church and an elementary school, is the last place Hrubeniuk said he expected to encounter a dangerous situation.
“This is the first time I’ve even heard of any serious crime or violent crime in this city,” he said. “It’s a little off-putting that way, and I’ve been here for about a year.”
Bill Henwood, a funeral director at York Funeral Home, spoke to The Canadian Press from behind one of the police road blocks. The business is located inside the cordoned off area on Brookside Drive.
“The lockdown occurred before we were able to get in to work this morning so nobody’s actually in the building,” he said.
Henwood said people are sitting in their cars or just standing near the blockade of police and fire vehicles “hanging tight and waiting for word” on what comes next.
“All the businesses even on the outside of the lockdown area have their lobbies and their business areas closed. They aren’t letting customers in at the moment.”
Henwood said the situation is a shock.
“It’s not something that we expect in Fredericton to wake up and hear about. To see that there’s actually fatalities is pretty extraordinary for this area it doesn’t normally happen.”
With Michelle McQuigge and Gabriele Roy in Toronto and Aly Thomson and Keith Doucette in Halifax.