Moncton lost three RCMP officers; seven children lost their fathers

Caroline (R) and Lily Connors leave flowers on the steps of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) headquarters in Moncton, New Brunswick June 6, 2014. Canadian police have arrested a man suspected of having shot dead three police officers and wounding two more, ending a massive manhunt, the police said on Friday. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi (CANADA - Tags: CRIME LAW)

Three Mounties killed by a gunman in Moncton, N.B., were fathers, brothers and heroic public defenders who were remembered and memorialized on Friday in New Brunswick, their home towns and across the country.

The fallen officers were identified for the first time on Friday, two days after a suspect opened fire in the streets of Moncton, killing three and injuring two others.

Earlier in the day, the suspect was arrested without incident. He simply walked into the open, unarmed, and surrendered himself to authorities. According to eyewitnesses, he said, "I'm done," as he turned himself in.

"Now that we have the suspect in custody we have to focus on the future and moving forward to restore a sense of normalcy to our community," Supt. Marlene Snowman said, thanking the public for its cooperation during the manhunt.

"It will take some time to heal but together we will get there. None of us can ever be prepared for this type of situation."

But Moncton will never be able to walk away from this tragedy; this will never be done for them.

Three families have lost their patriarchs. Each of three Mounties killed in the shooting were fathers, with six children between them. And another on the way.

Constables Dave Ross, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan and Douglas James Larche and Douglas James Larche were taken from their children a little more than a week before they were set to celebrate Father's Day.

Two other officers, Darlene Goguen and Eric Dubois, were injured in the shooting and are expected to recover.

As memorials for the three fallen officers grew around Moncton, details of the three men, their commitment to their job and the sacrifices they had made came into focus.

Const. Dave Ross

Ross, 32, a seven-year veteran of the RCMP, had been working as a police dog handler at the time of his death.

Ross had been born in Victoriaville, Que., and though he considered himself a New Brunswicker, his home province never forgot him. The Quebec National Assembly held a moment of silence for Ross on Friday. His old academy lowered the flag and the town's mayor asked residents to leave their porchlights on tonight in his honour.

Ross and his wife Rachael, had just celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary. They were expecting their second child. That child, and his or her older son, will now grow up without a father.

“These two little guys, or girl — we don’t know yet what it is going to be — will never know their Dad,” Raquel Vander Ploeg, Rachael's sister, told the National Post. “This is the kind of nightmare that you never wake up from.”

Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan

Gevaudan was 45 years old and had been born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

A close friend told the Globe and Mail that he had immigrated to Canada in 1991, settled in Montreal and eventually joined the Mounties. He graduated from a Regina training academy in 2008 and was immediately posted to Moncton.

According to the Globe, Gevaudan was married and had an eight-year-old stepdaughter.

Const. Douglas James Larche

Larche, 40, was a New Brunswick native. He was born in Saint John and, according to the Moncton Times and Transcript, followed his father's footsteps into the RCMP.

He graduated from training academy in 2002 and has been posted all over the province, doing everything from general policing to highway patrol. In 2008, Larche earned a Commander's Commendation after saving the life of an unconscious baby.

Larche is the father of three young daughters and was described by a friend in the Saint John police force as a "happy-go-lucky" guy.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown addressed the deaths on Friday, saying every police force in the country shared in the loss.

"My thoughts and prayers remain with the families and loved ones of these fallen officers who died in the line of duty and our recovering officers," Brown said.

"I can reassure our police officers that you they can count on our Force and a family of just over 35,000 brothers and sisters that are grieving alongside them and are here to support you."

Seven children have lost their fathers, 35,000 Mounties have lost their brothers and an entire country has lost three proud, strong role models.

Flags fly at half-mast across Canada today. The loss will not soon be behind us.

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