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Two officers among four dead in Fredericton shooting; one suspect in custody

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Const. Robb Costello, 45, left, and Const. Sara Burns, 43 are shown in this undated police handout photo. Fredericton police have identified two police officers who were among four people killed in a shooting Friday morning in a residential area on the city’s north side. Police Chief Leanne Fitch says the victims include Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns, 43, and two civilians – a man and a woman – who remain unidentified. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO – Fredericton Police Force

HO

New Brunswick’s usually quiet capital city erupted in violence Friday, as two police officers responding to a shooting arrived to find two victims — and were then fatally shot themselves.

The victims include Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns and two civilians — a man and a woman — who remain unidentified, police said.

“This is the worst moment for any chief of police in any police agency to have to deliver this news,” Police Chief Leanne Fitch told a news conference.

Fredericton police Chief Leanne Fitch, right, attends a press conference with an emotional deputy police chief Martin Gaudet following a shooting where two city police officers were among four people killed in Fredericton, N.B. on Friday, August 10, 2018. Darren Calabrese

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

A Fredericton hospital was treating “multiple victims,” but police would not say how many people were injured in the incident, in a residential area on the city’s north side.

Police said they have a 48-year-old Fredericton man in custody who was being treated for serious injuries. They would not reveal what kind of firearm was used.

Deputy police chief Martin Gaudet said the two officers responded to the area around 7:10 a.m. and found two victims on the ground, an adult man and woman.

“That’s when they (the officers) were shot,” he said during a news conference.

He had no information on any others who were hurt.

“There were many officers in and around the building at that time, so when the call came in shots fired, officers jumped in a cruiser and attended the scene. They were the initial officers on scene.”

Shooting in Fredericton

Fredericton

Brookside Drive:

Scene of shooting

Saint John River

Brunswick St.

Fredericton

Smythe St.

Regent St.

MURAT YUKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

Shooting in Fredericton

Fredericton

Brookside Drive:

Scene of shooting

Saint John River

Brunswick St.

Fredericton

Smythe St.

Regent St.

MURAT YUKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

Shooting in Fredericton

Brookside Drive:

Scene of shooting

Fredericton

Saint John River

Brunswick St.

Fredericton

Smythe St.

Regent St.

MURAT YUKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU

Costello, 45, was a 20-year police veteran with four children, while Burns, 43, had been an officer for two years and was married with three children.

Jackie McLean, Costello’s common-law partner, says a police inspector told family members the news Friday morning.

“He loved being a police officer and he lived for being a police officer,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview.

Four people were killed in a shooting in Fredericton on Friday morning, including two police officers. One witness says she thought the gunshots were fireworks at first. The Canadian Press

Residents said the incident began at about 7 a.m. at an apartment complex on Brookside Drive.

Tim Morehouse said he was in his apartment when he heard someone shout: “Shut up! Shut up!”

He said he heard two gunshots, and then three more. He said he looked out his window and saw the body of a man on the ground, in the back parking lot of 237 Brookside Dr.

“I hear more shots and looked out and there’s two police officers on the ground. I called 911 and they came and checked on them and they were shot,” he said.

David MacCoubrey said he awoke in his Brookside Drive apartment at 7:07 a.m. to the sound of gunshots “10 metres from my bed.”

MacCoubrey said three gunshots woke him up, and as many as 17 more were fired between that time and around 8:30 a.m.

“It sounded like the first one came from right outside my bedroom window… I was hoping for the two seconds that I was groggy that it was kids blowing off firecrackers,” said MacCoubrey in a phone interview from inside his apartment, where he was sitting on the floor away from windows.

“Then two more happened within the first three minutes.”

He said the apartment complex has four buildings in a square, and it sounded like the shots were coming from the middle of the complex.

MacCoubrey said police had searched the buildings and went through his apartment.

“I saw an armoured vehicle out in the courtyard and I opened up my window to see if I could hear anything and the shots started again,” he said. “I’m not scared in the least. I’m angry. I don’t like the violence… I’m worried for the other people around me.”

A large group of Fredericton police officers gathered outside the Chalmers hospital, and appeared to be consoling each other. They watched as the hospital’s New Brunswick and Canadian flags were lowered to half-mast.

By Friday afternoon, a memorial of flowers and messages was growing in front of the Fredericton police station. Among the messages: “We love you our brothers and sisters in blue! Thank you for ALL that you do!”

Another read: “Fredericton Police Force, your city has your back!”

A vigil was to be held Friday evening at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church.

“At times like this, we as a city and a province need to draw together for mutual support and comfort,” said Anglican Bishop David Edwards in a statement. “I encourage people to gather in places that are sacred to them to pray and remember.”

The shooting prompted an outpouring of sympathy from across Canada.

Many police forces lowered their flags to half-mast, and political leaders of every stripe offered their condolences.

“Thank you to all those Canadians for their condolences and their thoughts,” said New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.

“There’s no doubt that it helps .. to know the whole Canadian family will be there to support them.”

Gaudet said the investigation has been turned over to the RCMP.

Fitch said she had reached out to Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team, which investigates police-involved shootings.

The Fredericton shootings come just four years after another traumatic event for police and the public in another New Brunswick city.

In June 2014, RCMP Constables Doug Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross were killed in a shooting rampage by Justin Bourque. Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were also injured when Bourque went hunting police officers in a Moncton neighbourhood.

There were between six and 11 homicides a year in New Brunswick between 2012 and 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

With Michelle McQuigge and Gabriele Roy in Toronto, Aly Thomson and Keith Doucette in Halifax, and Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s.

Four people are dead after a shooting in the Eastern Canadian city of Fredericton, N.B., the latest eruption of gun violence that has led to calls for tighter gun restrictions in Canadian cities. Ashraf Fahim reports. Reuters

– With Michelle McQuigge and Gabriele Roy in Toronto and Aly Thomson and Keith Doucette in Halifax.

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No apologies for heckler

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Hate speech and the politics of division are creating a "dangerous path" for Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday as he vowed to steer clear of such roads and to continue calling out those who rely on "extremist" methods to make their voices heard.

Trudeau made the comments when asked whether he went too far in accusing a Quebec woman of racism and intolerance as she heckled him last week during a rally in Quebec.

During a campaign-style rally Thursday southeast of Montreal, the woman shouted questions in French at Trudeau, asking him when the federal government would repay Quebec for costs it has incurred as a result of an influx of "illegal immigrants" coming over the Canada-U.S. border.

The Quebec government has demanded Ottawa pay the full costs of social services provided to so-called irregular migrants who have crossed into Canada between established border crossings over the past couple of years — costs the province says have reached $146 million so far.

The prime minister responded to the woman by accusing her of intolerance and racism and saying her sentiments were not welcome.

At a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for a new Amazon distribution warehouse east of Ottawa, Trudeau said he fears a rise in extreme populism, particularly surrounding immigration issues, with some feeding fear and intolerance using partial truths and "outright lies."

"There has been a polarization in our political discourse," Trudeau said as construction machinery clattered in the background.

"And there are people who are trying to feed fears and intolerance for a broad range of reasons. … I will remain positive and remain pulling people together, pulling communities together right across this country."

Progressive Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Trudeau is using personal attacks to shut down criticism of his government.

"This is a calculated Liberal strategy to avoid being accountable for their record," Scheer said in a statement Monday evening. "Instead of demonizing critics, Justin Trudeau should confront the problem."

Ontario's minister responsible for immigration, Lisa MacLeod, was on hand Monday for Trudeau's news conference. It's the prime minister who is creating divisions by shouting "racism" at those who question his government's immigration policies, she said.

"I think when the prime minister, when confronted with some of the problems his government has created, turns around and fearmongers and calls people un-Canadian or racist, (he) really debases the debate that we're having."

Ontario's new Conservative government has also called on the federal government to foot the bill for services provided to asylum seekers, which that province has tallied at $200 million and climbing.

A woman who identified herself on social media as a member of the right-wing group Storm Alliance took responsibility for the confrontation with Trudeau in a post on Facebook. The group has been behind protests denouncing the arrival of asylum seekers at an irregular border crossing near St-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

"Pretty happy that I participated in him blowing a gasket," the post says.

The federal government has so far offered a total of $50 million to Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba to offset expenses incurred as a result of a spike in asylum seekers entering the country by way of unofficial entry points along the Canada-U.S. border. Of that sum, Quebec — where the bulk of the crossings have taken place — would receive $36 million.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said he hopes to persuade people that diversity is good for the province.

"If someone tells me they are worried about diversity, I will accept this worry exists and I will try to explain my point of view, that it (diversity) is something that can be very positive for our society," Couillard told reporters Monday.

The issue of irregular border crossings could become a wedge issue in the campaign leading up to the next federal election scheduled for the fall of 2019.

At an event Sunday marking Trudeau's formal nomination to run for re-election in the Montreal riding of Papineau, Trudeau emphasized the fight against extremist populism as a plank in his party's 2019 platform, and accused Scheer of exploiting fear and division.

— With files from Mylene Crete and Caroline Plante

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the confrontation with Trudeau occurred Sunday.

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Multiple victims of Bombay Bhel bombing will discuss 'plan of action' today

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Multiple victims of a bomb blast at a popular Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., in late May will discuss their "plan of action" during a news conference Tuesday morning. 

They are expected to speak alongside their lawyers at 11 a.m. at Diamond and Diamond Personal Injury Lawyers in Toronto.

Peel Regional Police alleged two disguised suspects entered Bombay Bhel on the evening of May 24, planted an improvised explosive device that contained nails, then fled. Moments later, the device detonated.  

The blast wounded 15 people, three of whom suffered "critical blast injuries," according to paramedics. All have since been released from hospital. 

40 people in restaurant at time of blast

Groups of families and friends were celebrating birthdays at the restaurant, nestled in a small plaza near the intersection of Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue E.

Bombay Bhel is a staple for many in the Greater Toronto Area's South Asian community who dine there for a taste of home. 

About 40 people were inside the restaurant at the time, many of whom were children under 10. Witnesses described a chaotic scene of broken glass and bloodied diners.

Victims of a bomb blast at Bombay Bhel restaurant ranged in age from 23 to 69, police said. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Peel Police Chief Jennifer Evans has previously said there is no indication the bombing was a terrorist act or hate crime. Investigators have not released a motive nearly three months after the bombing and no group has taken responsibility for it. 

The bombed-out restaurant sustained a "considerable amount of damage," Evans said, and has been closed since.

Owner Mohan Nagpal declined and interview with CBC Toronto on Tuesday. He anticipates Bombay Bhel will reopen in a few weeks.  

A dedicated police task force, established to investigate the case, is looking for two suspects. Both were initially believed to be male, but investigators now say one may be female.

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Vancouver Weather: Sunny, air quality alert still in effect

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Smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning around the province is creating a thick haze over Metro Vancouver.


A seaplane takes off from the harbour as smoke from wildfires burning in the province fills the air, in Vancouver, on Monday August 20, 2018.


DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Tuesday looks like it will be another smoky day in Metro Vancouver. Environment Canada says although the forecast is mainly sunny, it’s unlikely the region will see much of it as another day of widespread smoke is expected. That thick haze will likely stick around tomorrow, but there may be some improvement on Thursday. Tuesday’s temperature highs are 23 C and 30 C inland. The agency is continuing its air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter from the hundreds of wildfires burning around the province and in the U.S.

Elevated levels of fine particulate matter are expected to persist until there is a change in fire or weather conditions. The agency warns particulate matter can get inside your home, so they are advising people keep their windows closed.

People with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.


Weather: Vancouver, B.C.

Today: Mainly sunny. Widespread smoke. High 23 C except 30 C inland. Humidex 28. UV index 7 or high.

Tonight: Partly cloudy. Widespread smoke. Low 16 C.

Tomorrow: A mix of sun and cloud. Widespread smoke. High 22 C except 28 C inland. Humidex 27. UV index 7 or high.

Source: Environment Canada


Traffic: Lower Mainland

Here’s a live traffic map of what’s happening across the region’s roads. Use command + scroll to zoom in and out.


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