Still-growing memorial shows support for Fredericton police
FREDERICTON -- Mourners continue to add flowers, notes and teddy bears to the memorial outside police headquarters in Fredericton, as the usually placid New Brunswick capital grapples with the shooting deaths of four people, including two officers.
People have also dropped off coffee and snacks for officers, while others have handed out cookies in the midst of the emotional crime scene at a north-side apartment complex.
Friday morning's shooting claimed the lives of Bobbie Lee Wright, Donnie Robichaud, and responding officers Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his son, Hadrien, went Sunday to police headquarters to lay flowers at the memorial and offer words of solidarity.
Police chief Leanne Fitch issued a statement on Sunday thanking the public for their support over the past few days.
A public event planned for this evening, Hands and Hearts Across the City, asks residents to meet and to join hands on the walking bridge spanning the St. John River as a tribute to the victims.
Matthew Vincent Raymond has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
A Fredericton business owner who knew the 48-year-old Raymond described him as a "lonely person" who spent much of his time biking and playing first-person shooter video games.
Brendan Doyle, the former owner of recently closed Read's Newsstand & Cafe in Fredericton, said he also asked Raymond to stop frequenting his coffee shop after he allegedly expressed Islamophobic views and shared his dislike for Syrian refugees with patrons.
"He'd been coming in on almost daily for a coffee since 2010 and often stayed for an hour or two on the patio in the evenings," Doyle said in a Facebook message Sunday evening to The Canadian Press.
"While in the cafe, Matt also looked at magazines about bikes and about guns," Doyle said. "He expressed an interest in owning the various high-end bikes in the magazines, but his interest in guns seemed to be related to his video games."
He said Raymond had been coming in almost daily for coffee from 2010 up until 2017, when Doyle asked him to find coffee somewhere else.
"His discussions with fellow customers and staff turned more political around the same time we had an influx of Syrian refugees into the city," Doyle said.
"I saw him one weekend in front of city hall with a sandwich board sign that said 'No Sharia,' and other anti-Islamic sentiments."
He said he spoke to Raymond to determine how extreme his views were.
"I determined he was ignorant and misinformed," Doyle said. "He really just seemed to be parroting the talking points from some videos he's seen."
The force announced Sunday that a regimental funeral "to celebrate the lives of our fallen members" will be held on Saturday at the Aitken University Centre at the University of New Brunswick.
A book of condolences will be available to the public today in the council chambers of Fredericton City Hall.