Christie Blatchford: We need answers from our authorities, not sympathy and silence

Here we go again.

This time, there were five of them — Fredericton’s police chief and deputy chief, the RCMP superintendent now running the homicide investigation, the mayor of the lovely New Brunswick capital city and the premier of the province.

This was more than eight hours after the shooting early Friday morning that left four people dead, including two Fredericton police officers and two civilians, and may have seen as many as seven other civilians wounded.

And yet among them, the five officials had almost nothing to say beyond the identification of the two slain officers — they were Const. Robb Costello, a 45-year-old veteran, and Const. Sara Burns, a 43-year-old newbie with two years’ experience on the job and two more as an auxiliary officer.

Between them, the two officers leave behind seven children.

What the heck happened at the four-building Brookside Drive apartment complex?

What scant detail there was came from Fredericton Deputy Chief Martin Gaudet.

The two officers, he said, were responding to a “shots fired” call, which had come in around the time of shift change, and hearing it, Costello and Burns “jumped in a cruiser and went to the scene.”

Once on scene, about 7:10 a.m., they saw the “civilian victims on the ground and that’s when they (the officers) were shot.”

Witnesses to Fredericton shooting describe ‘senseless tragedy’ that left four dead’Our hearts are broken’: Fredericton police officers killed in shooting identified as Robb Costello and Sara Burns

Residents attend a candlelight vigil in Fredericton on Aug. 10, 2018 after four people were killed in a shooting.

Asked about other, injured victims, Gaudet replied that the investigation “is ongoing.” Asked if the call was a domestic call, he repeated that police were responding to a shots fired call. Asked about the weapon used by the shooter, whom Gaudet identified only as a 48-year-old Fredericton man, he gave no information.

It was an Ontario Premier Doug Ford-like press conference, if you will — tightly controlled, with brief formal statements and a limited number of appropriately respectful questions allowed (by my count, about five) and a minuscule amount of information given.

The other officials spoke of the terribleness of the day (Chief Leanne Fitch, who said it was “the worst moment for any chief of police”), asked for thoughts and prayers, and expressed confidence that “we will heal” in time so long as “the big family that is Canada” pulls together (Premier Brian Gallant).

Honest to Pete, in that big Canadian family, I am an outlier, an orphan, the awful black sheep.

I don’t want more thoughts and prayers, makeshift memorials, candlelight vigils (by mid-day, two were planned for Fredericton Friday night) or ostensibly stirring talk about Canadians coming together.

How about some hard, factual information in a timely manner?

The local hospital, Horizon Health Network, gave more, saying it was treating “multiple victims” related to the shooting and asking Frederictonians to avoid going to emergency if possible.

Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch, right, and Deputy Chief Martin Gaudet at a news conference after two city police officers were among four …read more

Source:: Nationalpost – News


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