Donnie Robichaud, centre, poses with his sons Draiden and Zakkery in this family handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Melissa Robichaud

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

Thousands of police officers and first responders from across the country are expected to attend a regimental funeral Saturday for two Fredericton constables killed in the line of duty, in what’s expected to be a strong show of support for a police force in mourning.

Martin Gaudet, Fredericton’s deputy police chief, said Wednesday that organizing the event is a “monumental task” as members of the force grieve the loss of constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns.

“The hardest thing for me in regards to arranging all of this is to simply move on one hour at a time or one day at a time,” Gaudet said Wednesday outside the Fredericton police department.

“We are going to celebrate their lives and we’re going to do it with dignity and with respect. That’s the task and we’re not going to fail.”

He said a large portion of those who gather at the Aitken University Centre will be uniformed officers from around the country.

“We are expecting thousands of law enforcement personnel and first responders from around the continent to join us to pay tribute to our fallen officers,” Gaudet said.

The police constables were gunned down during a shooting at a north end Fredericton apartment complex Friday that also claimed the lives of Bobbie Lee Wright and Donnie Robichaud.

The Burns family issued a statement Wednesday, explaining that they have been quiet only because she was “the most private person any of us have ever met.”

“All this attention would be terrifying to her,” said her husband, Steven Burns.

“Instead she would want each and every person who is grieving to know that she absolutely loved what she did for a living and the most important people in her world were her two families, her immediate family and the Fredericton Police Force.”

He said she could “brighten a room with her smile in an instant and make anyone feel at ease seconds later with just a few words.

“Sara was put on this earth to help people and everything she has ever done in life was to help people,” Burns said. “We are so proud of the person and human being that she was, and we will miss her dearly.”

He added that, “Sara would insist that the Bobbie Lee Wright and Donald Adam Robichaud not be forgotten because their family and friends are grieving no less and their lives are no less important.”

Related: Fredericton police release scene of shooting spree, but ‘damage’ remains

Related: Growing memorial shows outpouring of support for Fredericton police

Related: ‘She was just lovely:’ Slain Fredericton police officer loved giving back

Although the regimental funeral is not open to the public due to space constraints, public gatherings to view the funeral will be held at the Grant-Harvey Centre and the Hope City Church.

The public is also encouraged to line the streets of Fredericton for a parade procession made up of police officers and first responders that will precede the funeral.

A public visitation for Burns and Costello is being held Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the ballroom of the Fredericton Convention Centre.

Meanwhile, a public visitation was expected to be held Wednesday for another victim of the deadly shooting spree at a Fredericton apartment complex.

In an obituary published by Carleton Funeral Home in Jacksonville, N.B., Bobbie Lee Wright is remembered as a compassionate person who loved to help others.

The obituary said Wright graduated from Canterbury High School in 2003 and from New Brunswick Community College with a diploma in medical office administration in 2008.

The 32-year-old woman had previously worked on a tree farm, in catering and in an office before embarking on a career as a home support worker.

“She found the good in everyone and in every situation, and put others before herself,” the obituary said. “She enjoyed camping, tubing, bonfires and late nights spent making memories and reminiscing with friends and family.”

Matthew Vincent Raymond has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

He is set to appear in court on Aug. 27.

Meanwhile, lawyers appeared in court Wednesday to discuss a publication ban on certain court documents in the case.

The province’s Court of Queen’s Bench issued the ban on Monday, hours after media reported their contents.

Public prosecutor Cameron Gunn told the court that the Crown was prepared to lift the blanket publication ban.

He said an amended order seeking a more ”narrow ban” has been filed instead. It would unseal the documents but continue to block the publication of names of individuals who have not spoken with media yet.

“We’ve made our best efforts to limit this ban,” Gunn told the court, noting that the amended order strikes a balance between freedom of expression and the open court principle with the right to a fair trial.

But David Coles, a lawyer representing various media outlets, told the court there was no basis for sealing the identities of individuals named in the court documents.

He said the names would be in the public domain during the trial, and that reporters could learn the names from other sources.

“The way this order reads, even if they learn the identities independently they can’t publish them,” Coles told the court. “I don’t think there is authority for the court to do that.”

He said media have already reported on the names and sequence of events included in the documents, and that ”you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Judy Clendening has reserved her decision until Friday morning.

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey woman with autism has scooter stolen from SkyTrain station

Kayla Polege purchased scooter after ‘shutdowns’ on transit

Phase three of ‘King George Hub’ development moves forward

Coast Capital Savings headquarters next to King George SkyTrain was phase one of the project

HOCKEY: Olympic dreams for Surrey teen now with Canada’s U18 team

Cloverdale’s Jenn Gardiner a third-year star with Comets of B.C. Female Major Midget League

OUR VIEW: Memories of the ‘strip’ still fresh

Can’t blame Surrey residents for being wary after the human tragedy of 135A Street

‘Quite a coup’ in rail-safety funding: South Surrey-White Rock MP

Relocation study not included in money for infrastructure improvements along waterfront train route

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Off Nova Scotia, a bid to ‘unravel the mystery’ of great white sharks

The question: Is Nova Scotia the second mating site for Atlantic white sharks, something scientists say could be key to protecting the endangered species.

Man arrested after carjacking, collision, pepper spray attacks in Vancouver

Vancouver police say one man is in custody after a chaotic scene of events in the downtown core

Canadian investigator says World Anti-Doping Agency got a bad deal from Russia

A Canadian lawyer says the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

New evacuations ordered because of Florence flooding

Emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River

B.C. doctor weighs in on the kid ‘screen time’ debate

A Maple Ridge mother opens up about her children’s use of tablets, smartphones and television

Volunteer-based safety team gets city funding to continue work in Vancouver

Good Night Out is a non-profit society that works to keep people safe at night on Granville Strip

Most Read