(CNN) — After more than a day gripped in fear, a Canadian town heaved a sigh of relief Friday when authorities arrested a man suspected of gunning down three police officers.
Police took Justin Bourque, 24, into custody about midnight local time, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Authorities said the suspect, dressed in fatigues and armed with a rifle, went on a rampage Wednesday evening in Moncton, New Brunswick. In addition to the three officers killed, two others were injured.
Grieving police officers launched a manhunt after the loss of their colleagues.
Shortly after his arrest, barricades tumbled as residents on lockdown since the shooting slowly gathered on the streets.
“It’s hard to imagine that we can go back and turn the page without having a sense of the great loss we’ve suffered,” Mayor George Leblanc of Moncton told CTV.
“Moncton is such a beautiful warm community … I know this community has a tremendous spirit, and we will get through this.”
Michelle Thibodeau said the suspect was captured near her home in Moncton.
She told CNN partner CBC that she watched authorities take down a man resembling one seen in pictures circulated widely.
“There were trucks going by really slowly as well as cop cars surrounding my house, so we knew they were looking directly around my house,” she said. “Suddenly one of the SWAT trucks stopped and unloaded officers, and they proceeded to go to my back yard.”
While there, they yelled for the suspect to surrender. He was hiding behind a row of trees, according to Thibodeau.
“They were screaming for about five minutes and they had their guns loaded. And eventually Justin came out with his hands up and he yelled, ‘I’m done.’ And they collected him and brought him to my front yard, where he lay sprawled out. ”
Police surveyed her yard for weapons before taking him away, she told CBC.
“My heart dropped in my stomach. We were all shaking and panicky. It was a very scary situation.”
Her parents, brother, his girlfriend and a dog all watched the scene unfold from a window.
At the time of his arrest, the suspect was wearing the same camouflage uniform shown in the pictures, according to Thibodeau.
The only difference was his hair was “dripping wet,” she said.
The victims were all officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said Roger Brown, the commander for the New Brunswick branch.
“This is perhaps the darkest day in the history of RCMP New Brunswick,” he said.
Authorities have not released the names of the officers killed, saying they are waiting for all family members to be notified. Of the two injured officers, one has been released from the hospital, police said.
Police don’t know, or haven’t disclosed, what prompted the attacks.
“As you can imagine, this is working through your worst nightmare,” Brown said.
A Facebook page purported to belong to Bourque has many posts with pro-gun photos and a few anti-police memes.
There is also a photo where two men pose with shotguns in the snow. It was posted February 25, six days after the Facebook page was created, and is used as the profile picture.
In what appears to be his final post, the page’s author used the words of a song by the metal group Megadeath.
You say you’ve got the answers, well who asked you anyway?
Ever think maybe it was meant to be this way?
Don’t try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come.
I believe my kingdom will come.
Moncton has 140,000 people and is 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Saint John.
“It’s a lot. Especially for a city like this, where you wouldn’t expect something to happen like this,” resident Jonathan Hurshman told CTV. “You see it all in the States, and you think, ‘No, that could never happen here’ — and sure enough, it happens here.”
There were no homicides in Moncton in 2011 and 2012, and the average number of homicides per year between 2006 and 2011 was one.
In 2012, the homicide rate in Canada was 1.6 per 100,000. In the United States, it was 4.7 per 100,000, according to United Nations statistics.
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