Updated: Moncton 'learning to pray like it has never prayed before' - bizarre scene as lockdown continues

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 5, 2014

Charlottetown native Tracy Cantwell Petukhov, pictured here with her two children, is in Moncton within the lockdown area June 5 as a manhunt continues. Submitted

©The Guardian - TC Media


Prince Edward Islanders living and working in Moncton continue to express shock and sadness at events that have been unfolding since last night.

Jason Chevrier, a reporter with the all-news News 91.9 in Moncton, told The Guardian that “the community is hurting, right from the mayor down to the average citizen’’.

Chevrier spent three years as a reporter with Ocean 100 in Charlottetown before leaving to work in Moncton.

He was working a normal day shift and was home having supper when his news editor sent him a BBM. Chevrier then spent the entire night covering the manhunt.

Charlottetown native Tracy Cantwell Petukhov says it feels like she’s in the middle of a movie.

Cantwell Petukhov owns a bar in Moncton,  Plan B, and is currently in the lockdown area while police look for the suspect in the shooting of five officers.

She describes a scene of RCMP officers all around her, armed to the hilt with rifles “protecting us from this monster’’.

“I’m nervous to go in front of the window,’’ Cantwell Petukhov said, her voice shaking. “(The shooter) is probably looking for a place to hide.’’

The first call to 911 in Moncton came around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday but Cantwell Petukhov said she had no idea what was unfolding until her daughter called her from Calgary.

The news quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter.

“My daughter called me from Calgary and she was crying hoping I was OK.’’

Cantwell Petukov moved from Charlottetown to Cornwall before leaving for a life in Moncton in 1997.

Cantwell Petukhov said she has all the doors locked and is hoping they find the shooter soon.

“My gut is telling me he’s inside (someone’s home) hiding somewhere.’’

Meadow Bank, PEI, native Connie Hyde Thurber says her husband Gordon was planting flowers minutes before gunfire erupted in Moncton.

In less than an hour, they had every door in the house locked and every window closed.

“This city is learning to pray like it has never prayed before,’’ Hyde Thurber said.

“I think (the shooter’s) plan is to kill and he intends to die.’’

The Thubers live in the lockdown zone, near the Moncton Coliseum. Connie is locked in the house but her husband went to work this morning in Shediac, trying to think about anything but the shooting, hoping to find some normalcy in a time of complete chaos.

“It’s to try to be as normal as possible.’’

Hyde Thurber said it was a long, nerve-wracking night, but she feels a bit better, a bit safer, in the daylight.

Robbie Pippy of Hazelbrook and his daughter Maggie describe a surreal scene. Moncton is practically deserted, they said.

"It's like a holiday over here, like Christmas Day,'' Robbie Pippy said, describing how quiet the streets are.

Robbie drives a truck for Midland while Maggie is attending Oulton College.

"I hope they catch him alive,'' Maggie said. "I hope he didn't shoot himself. He shouldn't get off that easy.''

Prince Edward Island officers are among the Maritime police officers who are in New Brunswick today to assist RCMP.

“I am proud of the Prince Edward Island police officers from RCMP L Division, Charlottetown and Summerside Police Departments, who are supporting Codiac RCMP in Moncton and I continue to pray for their safety," PEI Premier Robert Ghiz said this morning.

Three Charlottetown Police Services officers are currently in Moncton as part of specialized units assisting in the investigation.

“The shock of what is going on in Moncton is being felt by everyone,” said Charlottetown Police Chief Paul Smith. “We want Moncton to know we are standing behind them. We will assist in any way we can.”

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