Islanders seek safety in midst of Moncton shooting spree

Brett Poirier
Published on June 6, 2014

Kim Sinclair remembers hearing gunshots.
The Kensington woman, currently living in Moncton, was feet away from the gunman accused of killing three RCMP officers and wounding two others.

"I heard pop, pop, pop," said Sinclair.

Wednesday evening a heavily armed man began a shooting rampage that has since put Moncton on lockdown as police from across the Maritimes hunt for the suspect.

Sinclair lives one street over from the Codiac RCMP say is where Justin Bourque, 24, began opening fire.

"I was out walking my dog, then I got a text from my friend to go inside," said Sinclair.

Police were called to a neighbourhood in northwest Moncton after 7 p.m. when residents spotted a man walking down the street with rifles, dressed in military camouflage.

Sinclair didn't have a view of the shooter, but heard everything that took place.

"'Get down on the ground!' I heard one officer yell. Others were shouting at him to drop the weapons."

Sinclair quickly turned to social media and found out exactly what was going on in her neighbourhood.

"When I saw what was being said online and after hearing the gunshots I knew it was bad," she said.

Locked inside her house, Sinclair's next thought was to let her friends and family know she was OK.

"People started contacting me and asked how I was. I tried to let everyone know what was happening."

Meanwhile, across town less than 10 km away, Dale Murray of Moncton was finishing up her shift around 9:30 p.m. at a local store.

The photography student at Holland College in Charlottetown was shocked when someone told her there was a shooting.

"At first I didn't know what was going on," said Murray. "We were told there was a man running around with a gun in the city."

Murray and another co-worker decided to close the store but quickly found themselves trapped.

"I called my parents to come and get me, but they couldn't," she said. "On the phone they told me there were roadblocks everywhere."

Murray and her co-worker locked themselves in the store and hid near the back until their rides were able to get through police barricades an hour later.

On Thursday afternoon Murray was in lockdown. Police cruisers and SWAT teams were patrolling the area where her family lives and they had been told to stay indoors.

She said the ordeal has been a whirlwind.

"I can't believe this happened in Moncton," said Murray. "You never plan for things like this in such a safe place."

At Université de Moncton a similar scene of panic was unfolding Wednesday.

First year health and science student Andrew Farag of Summerside had his evening physiology class interrupted with news of the attack.

"A girl was looking at her phone and interrupted the teacher to tell the class about the shooting," said Farag. "Within 30 seconds the room was empty."

Farag went back to his dorm for the remainder of the night and called family to say he was safe.

"I never imagined this would happen," he said. "I go on CNN and other websites and see this type of stuff and think 'I'm glad it's not happening here.'"

His Thursday class was cancelled and Farag is now back in Summerside.

Sinclair, a high school teacher, was able to leave Moncton Thursday afternoon.

"Teachers had the day off so I'm home to visit family until he's caught," said Sinclair from a family member's home in Kensington.