MONCTON, N.B. – To a neighbour, Justin Bourque could have gone almost unnoticed in the small trailer park where he had been living with a roommate or two.
Christian Duquette says the 24-year-old, who is now the centre of a manhunt in Moncton, N.B., did little to attract attention, was quiet and largely stayed to himself — perhaps his most marked characteristic in a community that often saw neighbours socializing on the street.
“He went to the store, he got his stuff and he went back home,” Duquette said Thursday as the search for Bourque continued a day after police alleged he fatally gunned down three RCMP officers and injured two others.
“He was a loner, he was never out in the park socializing. Aside from that, he was just your average Joe in a trailer park.”
Duquette, 37, said it was about a week ago that he last saw the young man going into a drab white trailer on Pioneer Avenue, where it’s believed he had been living with at least one roommate. The street is adjacent to a suburb where police say Bourque confronted them Wednesday at about 7:30 p.m. and opened fire.
Other residents in the trailer park said they had seen Bourque walking up the middle of Pioneer Avenue just before that, armed with at least one gun and in camouflage clothing.
Most said they didn’t know him.
Duquette, a former member of the military, says he never spoke to Bourque or saw inside his trailer since the curtains were always drawn, but he talked to neighbours who say they had brief encounters with him.
“You’d see him sitting outside and he always kept to himself,” he said from his home, which was under lockdown Thursday evening.
“People around here said they talked to him and said they helped push his car out of a snowbank and that he was still real quiet and into himself.”
An online publication called the Business Insider reported that Mike Campbell, who described Bourque in the article as “my best friend my whole life,” said Bourque was brought up in a religious Christian household and was home-schooled.
He reportedly last saw Bourque a few weeks ago when he stopped by to offer Campbell condolences over a death in the family.
“I believe he just didn’t know what to do,” Campbell is quoted as saying by the online publication. “He would be the last person I would think would do this.”
Campbell did not return repeated calls from The Canadian Press for comment.
The Business Insider reported that Caitlin Isaac, who says she worked with Bourque at a Walmart in Moncton, “seemed to have a problem with authority.”
Isaac also couldn’t be reached for further comment.
Andrew Pelletier, vice-president of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada, confirmed in a statement that Bourque worked for the company for a short time four years ago.
— By Alison Auld in Halifax.