Erin Rumbolt of Happy Valley-Goose Bay spent sleepless night after shootings
Residents of Moncton, N.B., have been left shocked and horrified after a heavily armed gunman killed three RCMP officers, and wounded two more, on the evening of June 4.
The mourning city is still on alert. As of this writing, the alleged gunman, 24-year-old Justin Bourque, is still on the loose. Government offices and schools remain closed, and many residents have been advised to stay indoors.
Erin Rumbolt, a Happy Valley-Goose Bay woman who moved to Moncton in 2010, went to work tired on the morning of June 5. Like many others, she spent a sleepless night locked inside her apartment, keeping tabs on the horrifying situation through the Internet.
Rumbolt, 26, was understandably anxious that night, since she lives near the area where police were searching for Bourque.
“They were saying he was around Ryan Road and Ryan Road is about 300 metres from my apartment,” she said.
Rumbolt first noticed signs of trouble when she went shopping that evening. On the way to a store, she saw some police vehicles all headed in one direction. She figured there was an accident, or something routine, and ignored it.
But heading back to her apartment, the heavy police presence on the streets made it clear that something out of the ordinary was happening.
“So I left to come home and I noticed there was a section that was being cordoned off and there was a whole bunch of police there,” said Rumbolt.
“I decided to turn around and take the highway home. So, as I was taking my exit off the highway, there was police at that intersection and they were turning people around and sending them back in the direction that I live in.”
Around 8:50 p.m., Rumbolt arrived back at her apartment, only to find a stranger parked in her driveway. It was then she found out about the gunman crisis.
“She (the stranger) told me about the situation and she said she can’t access her street, but she knew my landlord. So she told me what was going on,” recalled Rumbolt.
“So at that point, I just dropped everything in my car and I picked up my phone and called my mom and said ‘there’s a gunman on the loose in Moncton, in my area, and I just want someone on the phone with me when I go into my apartment’”
Rumbolt locked herself into the apartment and closed the blinds to all the windows. She then went on Twitter and other websites to get constant updates on the shootings.
“I saw that the police were looking for a gunman. At that point, there were no confirmed fatalities; it was all speculation.”
Rumbolt began worrying about her friend, whose boyfriend is a police officer in Moncton.
“When I found out there were injuries I had to text a friend because her partner is an officer. And I knew that he was evening night shifts this week,” said Moncton.
“Every time she found out that he was OK, she was also letting me know.”
Throughout the night, Rumbolt could hear the sirens and helicopters out searching for the suspect. The noise didn’t bother her, however. Any sound was welcomed over the periods of silence.
“I need to have noise because the quiet was deafening. It was so scary, because every little car that drove down my street freaked me out.”
After getting very little sleep, Rumbolt commuted to Amherst, N.S., where she works for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. If the gunman isn’t caught by the time she leaves her office, she will stay with a friend in Dieppe, N.B.
Like others across the country, Rumbolt is saddened by the whole incident, especially for the three officers who lost their lives.
“It’s sad. It’s a small community in Moncton, really … and now there’s three less people in Moncton who’s there to protect us.”