Authorities in Canada have arrested a suspected cop killer after an extensive manhunt on June 4-5 in the New Brunswick town of Moncton, following a shootout in a residential neighborhood that left three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers dead and two more injured.
The suspected shooter, caught on camera wearing military-style clothing and equipment and carrying two rifles, is thought to be Justin Bourque, 24. Postings Bourque made to his Facebook profile suggest that police themselves may possibly have been his intended targets. The postings—some months old but others made only hours before the shootings—are full of anti-police rhetoric and imagery.
Other postings reveal aspects of Bourque’s mindset and ideology. Posts with strident pro-gun rhetoric and imagery—more common in the United States than Canada—are interspersed with anti-authoritarian and conspiratorial statements and images from a mostly right-wing libertarian perspective, from support of the militia movement to support of the hacker group Anonymous.
Other Facebook postings by Bourque suggest a resentment of the wealthy and privileged, as well as a conviction that such people were engaging in conspiracy. These include a re-posting of a web graphic about the Rothschilds, the Jewish banking family that is frequently the target of anti-Semitic and anti-banking conspiracy theories. “Unless the people take notice, fight, and destroy the 1%,” Bourque wrote in February, “the battle for the future is lost, because the new age of the tyrants is already upon us.”
The brutal killings in Moncton are in several ways eerily similar to a tragic incident in the United States five years ago. In April 2009, 22-year-old Richard Poplawski ambushed and murdered three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During an ensuing standoff, he shot and injured a fourth before police apprehended him.
Like Bourque, Poplawski was an ardent gun rights activist and believed in anti-government conspiracy theories. Poplawski too had strong anti-police sentiments and had even conducted reconnaissance on the police. Poplawski, however, also had white supremacist views. Following his conviction on capital murder charges, Poplawski is currently on death row in Pennsylvania.