FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick RCMP arrested two suspects Friday following a double shooting near Fredericton that left two people injured and prompted an emergency alert about armed suspects on the run.
The Mounties said Fredericton police and RCMP officers were sent to a trailer park in Hanwell, N.B., around 4:30 a.m. to investigate reports of gunfire on Leafwood Drive. The area near the Kingswood golf course is in the jurisdiction of both police forces.
At 6:52 a.m., the RCMP issued a statement on Twitter saying the incident did not meet the criteria for an Alert Ready message, which is broadcast on radio and TV stations, as well as sent to most smartphones.
A spokeswoman for the Fredericton Police Force later said the two shooting victims were taken to hospital and were expected to recover from their injuries. Sonya Gilks also confirmed that one suspect had been taken into custody at the scene, and she said the crime was not a random act.
"We don't believe there's a threat to the public," Gilks said Friday morning.
At one point, some homes were evacuated and the Fredericton police emergency response team was called in. Police were worried that someone had barricaded themselves in a home, but the residence was found to be empty, Gilks said.
It remains unclear when police realized that one or more suspects had escaped in a car.
"As the investigation progressed, we started putting pieces of the puzzle together," RCMP Cpl. Hans Ouellette said in an interview. "That's when we realized there was this vehicle out that had a suspect or suspects in it, and we really needed to advise the public for their safety."
At 10:46 a.m., the Mounties issued an Alert Ready message saying suspects had been spotted in the Oromocto area, about 20 kilometres southeast of Fredericton, in a blue Honda Civic.
"It was a very dynamic situation," Ouellette said. "A lot of information was flooding in at the same time … Sometimes it takes time to put things together."
About 90 minutes later, the Mounties found the suspect vehicle in the Longs Creek area, west of Oromocto off of Highway 2, and the second suspect was arrested at the scene.
Another Alert Ready message was broadcast at 12:30 p.m., saying residents could return to their "normal activities" because the suspect vehicle had been found. And a half hour later, RCMP distributed a tweet saying a 22-year-old was in custody. No other details were released.
"We're not actively seeing anyone else at this point," Ouellette said. "We're still piecing this together."
He said it was too early to comment on what prompted the shooting.
The use of the Alert Ready system is a touchy subject for the RCMP. The national police force has faced intense criticism for failing the use the system on April 18-19, 2020, when a man disguised as a Mountie killed 22 people in Nova Scotia during a 13-hour rampage.
The Mounties have said the national alerting system was not part of their "tool box" at the time.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2022.
— By Michael MacDonald in Halifax.
The Canadian Press