Thousands of mourners and fellow Mounties lined the streets of Moncton, Canada, on Tuesday morning to honor the three police officers gunned down during a bloody rampage last week.
Constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, David Joseph Ross, 32, and Douglas James Larche, 40, were killed June 4 when, according to authorities, they confronted Justin Bourque, 24, of Moncton in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Police came to the scene after witnesses reported seeing a man stalking the neighborhood armed with rifles and wearing fatigues. Two other officers were wounded, but survived.
The caskets of the three officers, draped in Canadian flags, were carried into the Moncton Coliseum around 11 a.m. as thousands of officers with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police looked on, according to televised accounts of the proceedings.
“They gave their lives protecting the beautiful city of Moncton. They did not hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, who oversees the Moncton division. “It is for that reason that they were exceptional men.”
The violent rampage froze the city of 70,000 for nearly two days as police hunted the gunman. Said to be armed with rifles, knives, handguns and a crossbow, Bourque eventually surrendered to police early Friday.
He has been charged with three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Bourque is due back in court July 3.
The ambush of the Canadian officers came just days before two Las Vegas police officers were shot to death while eating lunch. An armed civilian who tried to intervene in the assault at a shopping center was also killed. The assailants, a married couple, died when the wife shot her husband before turning the gun on herself.
Larche had been with the Mounties for more than 10 years and received a commendation for saving the life of an unconscious baby in 2008, Brown said in a statement last week.
Ross, a Quebec native, had joined the department in 2007 and Gevaudan graduated from the academy in 2008, Brown said.
“I’ve often said when you love your job you never work a day in your life,” Brown said at the funeral. “Well Fabrice, David and Douglas loved their jobs.”
Larche is survived by his wife, Nadine, and three young daughters, according to police.
“While everyone ran away and hid from danger, Doug ran towards danger without hesitation and gave his life to protect our community,” his wife said in a statement released through the police department.
Ross, a police dog services handler, was also survived by a wife and son, police said.
As he stood before photos of the fallen officers, Brown struggled to speak, giving the deceased one final order before departing the podium.
“Constable Gevaudan, Constable Ross, Constable Larche,” Brown said, tearing up. “To your post. Dismissed.”