Canada is a country known for being a peace maker, where everyone is nice and polite. So when the news came in that an armed man is on the loose in the city of Moncton, New Brunswick, with 3 RCMP officers down, it threw the whole country into a somber mood.
News about the shooting broke out on Wednesday (June 4) night and the deaths of 3 RCMP Officers were confirmed at around 11:15pm via Twitter.
The Pinehurst subdivision of Moncton has been in a locked down ever since. Police are advising the residents to stay indoors and keep their doors and windows locked as the search for the gunman continues.
The police have now identified the gunman as 24 year-old Justin Bourque and request the public to be vigilant. They have also tweeted an image of the suspect (see picture above), who was wearing military fatigues and carrying two assault rifles at the time of the shootings.
According to a Statistics Canada report in 2010, the Moncton region continues to have the lowest crime severity index of census metropolitan areas in Atlantic Canada. There were no homicides in Moncton in 2011 and 2012; the average number of homicides per year between 2006 and 2011 was one. This is probably why such violence came as a shock to the region and beyond. As Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown states, "It has been perhaps the darkest day in the history of the New Brunswick RCMP".
After 30 hours of search that involved almost 300 officers, Bourque was finally arrested. He was unarmed when he surrendered himself and said, "I'm done."
It was indeed a miracle that such a violent episode ended without any shots being fired.
There is no straight forward answer as to why such tragedies happen. It was only about 2 weeks ago when another gunman went on a shooting rampage in the University of California, Santa Barbara. Even if we learn that a shooter has mental or social problems, it will never justify the actions or comfort those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
What we can do as believers is to be supportive of those who are affected and keep faith that God is just, good and compassionate. Let's not try to explain God's role or motivations or involvement in the tragedies because our explanations will probably fall flat on the face.
Rather, let's do what we can, practically, for those who are grieving and mourning through various acts of kindness and love. Pray for God's love, strength, peace and hope be with the families and friends.