TORONTO/OTTAWA, (Reuters) – Canadian police extended a manhunt in the city of Moncton today for a man carrying a rifle and wearing camouflage clothes, a day after three police officers were shot dead and two more were wounded.
Police cordoned off a large area in the northwest of the city and warned residents to stay inside their homes. A large blue armored police truck entered the area early on Thursday morning.
Residents of the small city of about 70,000 in the east coast province New Brunswick were told not to tweet the locations of officers for fear they could be helping the gunman.
Justin Bourque, 24, has been the target of the manhunt since late Wednesday after three RCMP members were killed and two more were taken to hospital with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.
Local media published a photograph of a man in camouflage clothing and a black headband carrying a rifle. Reuters could not immediately authenticate the picture.
Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada, which has stricter gun laws than the United States, and the killings have spurred an outpouring of grief on social media.
Speaking at a press conference late on Wednesday, RCMP spokesman Damien Theriault choked back tears after he was asked how police were dealing with the shootings.
“We are professionals,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement the deaths of the officers would be honored and remembered.
“This is a sad time for the people of Moncton, the people of New Brunswick and for Canada,” he said.
The last mass killing of Canadian police took place in Mayerthorpe, Alberta in 2005, when a gunman killed four RCMP officers.