MONCTON, New Brunswick — A chilling portrait of a man obsessed with guns and anti-government rhetoric began to emerge as people in this eastern Canadian city struggled to reconcile the knowledge that the person charged with murdering three Mounties was the same one who had seemingly lived quietly among them.
Justin Bourque, 24, was caught and charged with three murders and two attempted murders Friday, ending a 30-hour manhunt that closed schools, forced residents to hide inside their homes and paralyzed Moncton with fear. He appeared briefly in court Friday after he was charged in the second deadliest attack on the Royal Canadian Mountain Police nearly 130 years.
But as neighbors of his parents and others who knew Bourque spoke of a quiet man from a well-liked, religious Catholic family that home-schooled its children, recent posts on social networks told a very different tale — a litany of paranoid conspiracies that included statements on Russia being a threat to Canada and deep animosity toward authority figures.
A friend, Trever Finck, said he noticed changes in Bourque's behavior over the last year, particularly after he created a new Facebook page for himself in February and filled it with anti-police messages and conspiracy theories. His profile picture shows him standing in the woods with a friend, wearing camouflage gear and clutching a shotgun. What appear to be dozens of spent shell casings lie at their feet.
"I just want to know what was going through his head," Finck said.
Church administrator Dianne LeBlanc said it had been many years since she had seen Bourque, who moved out of the family home about 18 months ago. But his parents never missed a Sunday service at Christ the King Catholic church, she said. They often arrived with at least a couple of their grown children in tow, she added.