Fredericton shooting: A look at the 4 victims
The four victims of Friday morning’s shooting in Fredericton, N.B., were two police officers who were passionate about helping others, and two civilians who had recently begun dating.
The 48-year-old alleged shooter, Matthew Vincent Raymond, has been charged with four counts of first degree murder. Police have not yet stated what they believe to have been the motive.
Const. Sara Mae Burns, 43
Burns was a mother of three who became a police officer at the age of 40.
She had technically finished her shift when the call came in Friday morning at 7 a.m., but volunteered to join Const. Robb Costello as he began his shift, according to Burns’ longtime friend, Brian Jones.
Jones, who knew Burns for about three decades, says he wasn’t surprised that she decided to stay at work late because her motivation for becoming a cop was so that she could help people, “especially women.”
Burns was an avid supporter of Liberty Lane, a local housing shelter for women in crisis. In June, Burns’ husband Steven and Jones raised more than $130,000 for the organization while walking roughly 270 kilometres from Edmundston, N.B., to Fredericton. A busy police schedule prevented Burns from participating in the walk herself, but she worked on the project from behind-the-scenes.
“She believed that people were good and people do good things and that’s why she did what she did,” Jones told CTV News.
A statement from Burns family echoes that sentiment. “Sara absolutely loved her job, and went to work each shift committed to serving this great community,” the statement reads. “We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, and respectfully ask for privacy as we grieve,” the statement goes on.
On her Facebook page, Burns showed her passion for policing. She posted several links to articles about police issues, including stories about officers who died in the line of duty and about the suicide rate among first responders.
Const. Robb Costello, 45
Const. Costello was a 20-year veteran of the police force. He spent some time working the child exploitation unit, but his partner Jackie Steeves said in a written statement he was most passionate about being on patrol.
“He loved the people, he loved the variety of calls, but mostly he loved being able to deescalate an escalating situation,” Steeves wrote. “I know he responded eagerly and willingly to that last call,” she added.
“He had a special way of dealing with people – fair, but strong and tough when needed,” she went on. “He was the only officer I’ve ever known to write a ticket and have the recipient thank him for it.”
Steeves said that Costello was her “soulmate” and a dedicated family man, who was “extraordinarily proud of his daughters,” and who took care of his mother.
“I am grateful for all the messages of love and support but ask for some privacy as I go through this difficult time,” she wrote.
His daughters, meanwhile, posted on social media: “Now we’re tied at Cards Against Humanity for eternity. You’re a true hero. RIP Dad.”
Steeves, who also goes by Jackie McLean, has been active on Twitter since her partner’s death, and has in turn provided a glimpse into the grief she faces.
“This morning the most amazing man kissed me goodbye as he headed to work,” she tweeted. “This evening, I lay in our bed knowing that kiss will never happen again.”
Donnie Robichaud, 42, and Bobbie Lee Wright, 32
Robichaud was a singer and bass player who also worked in auto body shops, according to his cousin Sean Callahan.
Robichaud had recently begun dating Wright and they seemed very happy together, Callahan said.
“He was going on vacation Friday after work,” he told CTV’s Omar Sachedina. “Him and Bobbie were going away for a couple of days, just to have fun, just to be together.”
Callahan described Robichaud as the “nicest guy in the world.”
“He would give you the shirt off his back,” he said.
Callahan added that the family plans to cremate Robichaud and then put his ashes in one of his guitar cases.
Melissa Robichaud, who recently separated from Donnie, told The Canadian Press that her husband was a “good man.”
She said that he leaves behind two teenaged sons, Zakkery and Draiden, and a daughter named Chloe, whose names were tattooed on his back.
According to Robichaud, her husband and Wright had been planning to go zip-lining over the weekend and were packing the car when they were fatally shot.
Amanda Lee Leighton, 32, told The Canadian Press that she had known Wright since they were teenagers in Woodstock, N.B.
She confirmed that Wright and Robichaud had recently begun dating. “They had been talking on the internet and had their first date last Friday,” she said.
Leighton described her friend as “a quiet girl” who “loved to hang out with friends and always had a smile on her face.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown, CTV’s Omar Sachedina in Fredericton and The Canadian Press