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Fredericton mayor says community will heal as Brookside neighbours express shock

Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien speaks to media on Saturday. O’Brien expressed condolences for the two police officers killed on Friday morning as well as the two civilians. (Stu Neatby/Saltwire)
Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien speaks to media on Aug. 11, 2018. O’Brien expressed condolences for the two police officers killed on Aug. 10, 2018 as well as the two civilians. (Stu Neatby/Saltwire) - Stu Neatby

FREDERICTON, N.B. - One day after a tragic shooting that left four dead, Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien said the city was beginning to heal.

"This is day two in a hard time in the city of Fredericton,” O’Brien said during a press conference held at Fredericton Police Headquarters on Saturday morning.

“We will heal together, as I said yesterday. And we are.”

O’Brien made the remarks as new details were released about the man police believe carried out Friday morning’s shooting.

Police have charged 48-year Matthew Vincent Raymond with four counts of first degree murder in connection with the deaths of police constable Robert Costello, constable Sara Mae Burns, Donald Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

Raymond will appear in court on August 27th.

Late on Saturday, police released a statement from the families of Costello and Burns.

A statement attributed to the family of Burns stated that she “absolutely loved her job, and went to work each shift committed to serving this great community.”

“We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, and respectfully ask for privacy as we grieve,” the statement continued.

A statement attributed to the wife and family of Robert Costello stated that he also greatly valued his work, and referred to himself as a CFL, or “constable for life.”

“Robb was the single most positive person I have ever met; and that was obvious to everyone who met him,” the statement read.

“He had a special way of dealing with people – fair, but strong and tough when needed. He was the only officer I’ve ever known to write a ticket and have the recipient thank him for it.”

Fredericton City Police Chief Leanne Fitch confirmed that Costello and Burns were the first officers to arrive on the scene of Friday’s shooting.

Aside from the four victims, the only additional injury during the incident was the shooter, Matthew Raymond, Fitch said. Raymond remains in hospital.

Fitch confirmed that the weapon used in the shooting was a long gun, or rifle.

Police have not yet released information about what motivated the shooting, or whether the shooter knew the other two victims, Robichaud and Wright.

Police also confirmed that residents of the apartment block on Brookside would be allowed back into their homes on Monday.

Upwards of 54 residents have been evacuated from the apartments.

Sawyer Adams was one of these residents. He said he was awakened on Friday morning by the sound of gunfire.

“I saw a cop with his gun unloading onto the upstairs window across the window beside me," Adams said.

"I saw a SWAT van pull around the courtyard down there. He started unloading smoke grenades into the window."

Adams said five police officers moved him out of the building to a nearby Tim Hortons restaurant, where he remained until close to noon.

Like most other residents evacuated from the two apartment buildings, Adams spent Friday night at a hotel in the southern tip of the city.

Red Cross staff have booked a block of rooms for the residents, according to the hotel’s assistant general manager.

Adams said he knew most of his neighbours prior to the shooting.

"They're still really rattled and kind of nervous to go back there. They don't know what's going to go on," he said.

Tyler Broome, a resident of an apartment building next to the site of the shooting, said he spent much of Friday morning holed up in his own apartment after hearing several gunshots.

He remained in his home, but said he was anxious throughout the night last night about being near windows.

He said violent crime in the neighbourhood was virtually unheard of before Friday.

"When I moved here it felt like a friendly neighbourhood," Broome said. "It really surprised me when this all happened." 

Lauren Randall, a staff member at a Subway restaurant around the corner from the Brookside apartments, echoed the same sentiment.

Randall, who lives close by, said she was hard pressed to remember the last time she had heard of a crime being committed in the vicinity.

"Honestly the only that I can think of is, you get kids breaking into cars occasionally,” she said.

“Every now and then you hear about somebody's lawn being torn up."

Despite the chaos of Friday morning, all three Brookside Drive-area residents said the shooting would not change how they felt about the neighbourhood.

"I'll be freaked out for awhile but I'll stay in the same spot because I like my neighbours and everybody in the community," Adams said.

Stu.neatby@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/stu_neatby

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