Thousands honour slain Mounties in a Moncton Father's Day run
Published Sunday, June 15, 2014 11:40AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, June 15, 2014 7:58PM EDT
More than 5,000 people participated in a run in Moncton, N.B., Sunday to pay tribute to the three Mounties who were killed recently in the line of duty.
The "3KM for 3 Fathers: RCMP Officers Memorial Fathers Day Run" was organized to honour RCMP constables Douglas Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross. The proceeds from the run will be equally divided and donated to a trust fund created for the families of the three men.
"It's Father's Day and it’s important that we support these three fallen police officers and their families," local resident Michel Dupuis, who participated in the event, told CTV Atlantic on Sunday.
Organizer Armand Doucet, who used to run with Larche, said that he was inspired to do something to help out the families of the officers after learning that his jogging partner had been gunned down.
"When we found out (that Larche) had passed away, we decided we were going to honour him," Doucet told The Canadian Press on Sunday.
During the run, participants, dressed in red, stopped at the Codiac RCMP detachment to shake the hands of Mounties who were dismantling a memorial to the slain officers.
Sgt. Alain LeBlanc, who is based in Nova Scotia but travelled to Moncton over the weekend for Sunday's run, described the show of appreciation as a final salute to the fallen constables.
"What happened was quite amazing. It was very unique," LeBlanc told The Canadian Press. "I think the members needed this. It was very impromptu."
He added that the roughly 40 officers at the Codiac detachment were moved by the handshakes. "I think it was the final chapter for them to thank our members."
RCMP Supt. Marlene Snowman, who was at the Codiac headquarters, called the show of support incredible.
"The visibility of red is incredible. I think what's unbelievable is the fact that these people were supposed to be walking or running and as they've rounded the corner, they're stopping in order to shake (the hand of) or hug every member that's standing along the road in Red Serge," she told CTV Atlantic.
A mountain of flowers, cards, candles and notes had amassed on the steps of the detachment in recent days, paying respects to the fallen officers. The items were taken down Sunday morning and will be given to the victims' families.
Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc has said a permanent memorial is being planned to honour the three fallen constables.
Larche, Gevaudan and Ross were shot and killed on June 4 after responding to reports of an armed man in north Moncton. The shootings prompted a massive manhunt, as well as a lockdown that lasted nearly 30 hours.
Constables Darlene Goguen and Eric Stephanie J. Dubois suffered non-life threatening injuries in the chaos.
Justin Bourque, 24, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Plowman and The Canadian Press