The fatal shooting of three Mounties in Moncton, N.B. late Wednesday is not the first time the province has mourned officers gunned down in the line of duty.
Back on Dec. 13, 1974, two Moncton police officers were kidnapped during a traffic stop, driven to a secluded area and shot to death in a crime that shocked not only New Brunswickers, but all Canadians.
The officers were forced to dig their own graves before they were killed.
Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois and Const. Michael O’Leary were investigating the kidnapping of Raymond Stein, the teenaged son of a prominent local restaurant owner, late the night of Dec. 12. A $15,000 ransom demand had been made and police were headed to the “drop” location in Riverview, a Moncton suburb, according to an Associated Press report in the Bangor Daily News.
One of the suspects drew a gun and disarmed the two officers. Their police radios fell silent shortly after, says an entry in an online memorial page to fallen police officers.
Bourgeois and O’Leary were found buried in shallow graves on Dec. 15, “shot through the head and wearing handcuffs,” according to the news report.
Bourgeois, 47, was an 18-year veteran of the Moncton force. He left behind a wife and four children: two sons and two daughters.
O’Leary, 33, was also married with a young family.
James Hutchison and Richard Ambrose were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Their sentences were commuted to life in prison when Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976.
Ambrose was paroled in 1999, but his release was revoked in 2005 after he assaulted his wife and threatened his sister, the Kingston Whig-Standard reported. By then, he had changed his surname to Bergeron and was living in Edmonton.
Hutchison had a criminal history dating back 30 years prior to the 1974 killings, largely for armed robberies and property crimes, the Whig-Standard reported. He slipped his prison escort in 2000 while performing volunteer work in Kingston, Ont. He was recaptured three days later.
His time in prison was marked by various incidents, including hunger strikes, faking injury or illness in order to be taken to outside hospitals, and the assault of another inmate, says a 2011 Parole Board document. The incidents led to his repeated transfer between institutions.
His last request for parole was denied in 2011. He died in custody later that year at the age of 83.