Justin Bourque, the 24-year-old being sought in the murder of three police officers in Moncton, a town in New Brunswick, Canada, has long had troubles with authority, a fascination with guns, and a tendency to make dark pronouncements, according to a former coworker.
“I never took him seriously, but he always said he wanted to go out with a bang and bring people with him,” recalls Caitlin Isaac, who worked with Bourque at Walmart several years ago, until he was fired. He wanted to “give people something to remember him for.”
Bourque’s Facebook page is filled with defiant and occasinally jokey posts about the right to bear arms.
“He’s always seemed to have a problem with authority,” she says. “Issues with parents, bosses, police…” Still, she says, he “seemed friendly enough. Little bit of an outcast, but not to this extent.”
He was fired for “attitude related issues, being defiant, not doing what he was supposed to be doing — problem with authority.”
As of this writing, Bourque is still the subject of a manhunt. Much of the city is on lock-down. Residents have been told to stay inside, and to keep their porch lights on. Local police have been joined by Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as soldiers from a nearby military base.
Mike Campbell has known Bourque since they were both two years old and still lives a few houses down from Bourque’s family. He recalls hours spent playing with “little green army men,” and dreaming of growing up to join the military or become dinosaur-hunting archeologists. Campbell describes Bourque as a friendly kid, who was brought up in a religious Christian household and was homeschooled his entire life.
They drifted apart after Bourque’s parents decided that Campbell was “too competitive at sports” like street hockey, and they didn’t want Justin hanging around him.
But after Campbell’s father died recently, they became reaquainted. Campbell was hanging out in his garage with a few friends a few weeks ago when Bourque stopped by to offer his condolences. Everything seemed normal.
“We were just sitting in the garage drinking a little bit of whisky, listening to some Black Sabbath, and having a good time. Then he got up. ‘I should get home before I pass out,’ is what he said. ‘I’m going to go.’
“I told him, ‘Get hold of me later.’ And he was like, ‘I don’t know. You take care, Mike. You have a good life.’
“And I said, ‘No, man really. You’re not going to come visit me? Come over any time, I’ll be here.’
And he was like, ‘That probably won’t be able to happen….’ I was kind of weirded out by it. A few weeks alter all this crazy nonsense happened…”
Bourque had recently quit his job at a grocery store, Campbell says, and was living in a trailer park.
Cambpell doesn’t know how to explain Bourque’s killing spree. “I belive he just didn’t know what to do. He was my best friend my whole life. He would be the last perosn I would think would do this.”
If he could speak to him, Campbell says, “I’d tell him he’s a fucking idiot. You have problems? Everybody has problems. You don’t take peoples’ lives. Whatever you have going on in your life, there’s ways to solve it. It’s not right. It’s messed up. I don’t feel bad for him but his familiy is the best people I’ve ever known. I just watched the 15 cop cars surrounding his parents’ house, fully automatic weapons drawn, and all his sisters coming out with their hands on their heads. So sad. I can’t believe what they’re going through.”
Caitlin Issac says she was “surprised, and also not at the same time” by reports of his rampage.
She remembered one strange encounter with Bourque. “A few people from work went camping one weekend, and he came, and brought his rifle with him, which he held onto the whole night while drinking. That kind of freaked us out, so we didn’t invite him the next time.”
Now she and Campbell and everyone else in Moncton are at home, with their doors locked. “He has two large guns, a knife, and a bow & arrow with him,” Isaac says. “I know a lot of people in the neighbourhood he’s in, and yeah, I’m definitely worried at this point.”
Not long before the shootings, Bourque posted a verse from Megadeth’s “Hook in My Mouth” to his Facebook page. It ended:
You say you’ve got the answers, well who asked you anyway?
Ever think maybe it was meant to be this way?
Don’t try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come.
I believe my kingdom will come.
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