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Shooting in Canadian city leaves four dead, including two officers

World | 2018-08-11 00:37:58
Shooting in Canadian city leaves four dead, including two officers
A shooting in a small Canadian city Friday left four people dead, including two police officers, under circumstances that were not yet explained but struck a nerve in a country that has been roiled 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 following 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.

Finally, after a tense period of waiting, authorities disclosed the toll: Among the four killed were two officers, a rare case of police killed in the line of duty in Canada.

Authorities said one suspect was in custody and was being treated for serious injuries. The person’s identity was not immediately announced and no motive was disclosed. Several other victims were being treated at a regional hospital, but there were no immediate details on the nature of their injuries or their conditions.

“Our hearts are broken by the murder of our two brave police officers,” Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien said in a tweet. The entire province of New Brunswick had 11 homicides in 2016.

In Fredericton, a city of about 60,000 residents, people said they were stunned by the scene, which occurred as people were heading to work or dropping children at a day care center 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.

The shooting comes as Canada wrestles with a string of violence, including an instance in Toronto last month where 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 the wake of the Toronto shooting, the city council voted overwhelmingly to urge the federal government, which has jurisdiction over gun laws, to ban the sale of handguns in the city.

“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?” Toronto Mayor John Tory said. Canada’s largest city has had 241 shooting incidents this year, resulting in 30 deaths, a 30 percent increase in fatalities.

Bill Blair, the government minister tasked with tackling gun violence, said officials are considering giving provinces the power to designate gun-free cities.

“It’s possible we could work with the provinces and territories and allow them the authority to designate certain municipalities as places where guns could not be purchased or possessed,” Blair told Reuters.

Canada’s Liberal government unveiled proposals in March to tighten already tough gun control laws to address a spike in crimes involving firearms, including a deadly attack on a mosque last year.

The measures would enhance background checks on people, especially those with a history of violence, seeking to buy firearms.
Agencies
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