At a Friday afternoon news conference, Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch identified the two officers slain in a morning shootout. Dead are Lawrence Robb Costello, 45 and Sara Mae Burns, 43.
Two other Fredericton residents — as yet unidentified — were also killed. Police have a 48-year-old with severe injuries in custody. His name has not been released and police have released few details on the circumstances of the violence — though some reporters at the news conference asked if the incident that prompted this morning’s shootings was a domestic dispute. Police refused to comment.
“This is the worst moment for any chief of police in any police agency to have to deliver this news,” Fitch told reporters.
The police officers’ deaths have prompted an outpouring of public support, with members of the public posting signs and presenting flowers outside the Fredericton police station.
As the National Post reports, Costello was a 20-year veteran of the Fredericton police force, a detective who worked the gamut of investigations from robbery to sex crimes. He had recently been seconded to the RCMP to work with its internet child exploitation unit.
Conversely, Burns was relatively new to the police force. A wife and mother of three, she went back to university. She was active in her community as a volunteer for charitable organizations. She had recent brush with death, when an assailant she was attempting to arrest threw a knife at the officer and narrowly missed her.