SPIRITWOOD, Sask. – The two-day manhunt for a suspect in the killing of three New Brunswick RCMP officers takes Armand Smith back to a “nightmare” eight years ago.
In July 2006, the Saskatchewan farmer and his wife Rose helped convince a man responsible for killing two Mounties near Spiritwood to turn himself in.
Curtis Dagenais used a high-powered rifle to gun down constables Robin Cameron and Marc Bourdages after a dusty car chase down some country roads.
Dagenais escaped the scene on foot.
Like the situation in Moncton, N.B., where police arrested Justin Bourque early Friday morning after an extensive manhunt, Saskatchewan RCMP set up a perimeter around a large area where they thought Dagenais was.
About 250 officers spent 11 days looking through farmland and bush. Vehicles were stopped at roadblocks. Trunks and truck beds were searched.
It turned out that Dagenais had been hiding well outside of the area.
Smith and his wife found Dagenais in their hay field.
The couple took him in for coffee and eventually convinced him that surrendering was the right thing to do.
Dagenais was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
To this day, Smith is grateful that he didn’t go out to the field by himself.
“I was just happy as all get out that my wife took me out to the field,” he said. “Between the two of us we slowly talked the guy into turning himself in.
“My wife and I just said it was probably the longest day we ever did trying to talk the fella into turning himself in. I really didn’t want to go through that again. It was a long day … It was a nightmare.”
He said he empathizes with the people of Moncton.
“It was an awful thing for me to go through and I imagine it’s an awful thing for the people there,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing.”
— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter