'Our hearts are broken' - 2 police officers among four people killed as shooting shocks Canadian city
A shooting in a small Canadian city early yesterday left four people dead, including two police officers.
The circumstances remain a mystery, but the attack struck a nerve in a country that has been rocked in recent months by several instances of mass violence.
People in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick in the eastern part of the country, said they heard as many as 20 gunshots.
They came after a confrontation that prompted police to initially cordon off a large section of the city with emergency vehicles and order residents to remain inside their homes and businesses.
After a tense period of waiting, authorities disclosed the toll.
Among the four killed were two officers, a rare case of pol-ice killed in the line of duty in Canada.
"Our hearts are broken by the murder of our two brave police officers," Fredericton mayor Mike O'Brien said in a tweet.
Several other victims were being treated in hospital, but there were no immediate details on the nature of their injuries or their conditions.
Authorities said one suspect was in custody, but the person's identity was not released and no motive was disclosed.
The entire province of New Brunswick had 11 murders in 2016.
In Fredericton, a city of about 60,000, residents said they were stunned by the incident, which happened as people were heading to work or dropping children at a day care centre not far from the apartment complex where the shooting took place.
"This is the first time I've even heard of any serious crime or violent crime in this city," said Travis Hrubeniuk, whose fiancee had just left their home when the sirens began to wail.
Bill Henwood, a funeral dir- ector whose business is located inside the cordoned-off area on Brookside Drive, said people sat in their cars or were standing near the blockade of police and fire vehicles "hanging tight and waiting for word".
"It's not something that we expect in Fredericton to wake up and hear about," he said.
"To see that there's actually fatalities is pretty extraordinary for this area."
The shooting comes as Canada wrestles with a string of viol- ence, including an incident in Toronto last month when a man with a handgun opened fire in a crowded part of the city, killing two people and wounding 13 before he either shot himself or was killed by police.
In April, a man who linked himself to a misogynistic online community used a van to run down pedestrians in a busy part of Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 14.
Authorities are still pursuing leads in an ongoing investigation of a serial killer who has been charged with killing eight men in the city in recent years.
In 2014, a shooting in Moncton, New Brunswick, left three Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers dead and two wounded.