He liked his guns, had a chip on his shoulder and feared that Russia would invade Canada in a third world war.
A 24-year-old Moncton resident, Justin Bourque had recently quit his job and talked casually about how he would one day “go out with a bang and take people with him.”
Mr. Bourque was arrested early Friday morning in connection with the shooting rampage that killed three police officers and wounded two others in Moncton on Wednesday evening.
Part of the emerging picture of the suspect, who was photographed armed with two long guns and clad in camouflage gear, is all too similar to recent stories of mass shootings. He appeared to be a man whose mind was full of resentment and conspiracy theories. He did not like authority, and made some people uneasy with his enthusiasm for firearms.
The RCMP said on Thursday that Mr. Bourque was not previously known to them. However, acquaintances described him as a quirky man who, in hindsight, was sending ominous clues.
Caitlin Isaac, who worked with Mr. Bourque at a Wal-Mart three years ago, said he often talked about wanting to “go out with a bang and take people with him.”
Ms. Isaac told the Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick that “this is something he wanted people to talk about.”
She said that Mr. Bourque had a problem accepting authority, and that his two guns were “his favourite things.”
“He seemed to have a hate on for everything.”
In an interview with Business Insider, she recalled that some Wal-Mart employees organized a camping trip and invited Mr. Bourque. “He came, and brought his rifle with him, which he held on to the whole night while drinking. That kind of freaked us out, so we didn’t invite him the next time.”
Mr. Bourque’s Facebook account and those of two friends have photos of themselves toting shotguns in a clearing, the snowy ground littered with shell casings.
Along with reposting pro-gun and anti-police slogans, his Facebook posts speculate that the country could be too soft to survive an impending conflict.
Last March, on the day of the Academy Awards, he complained on his Facebook page that people were busy worrying about the Oscars.
“The third world war could be right around the corner, wishful thinking isn’t gonna stop this one. This will not be like Iraq, NATO is vastly outnumbered by Russia and her allies,” he wrote.
Three weeks later, he warned that “Canada is one of the world’s most likely targets Russia would invade at the start of a war due to pushover resistance.”
Many of the images he posted came from U.S. sources, with allusions to militia, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the right to bear arms.
Mr. Bourque was raised in a religious family and was home-schooled, a childhood friend, Mike Campbell, told Business Insider.
He recently quit his job and lived in a trailer park, Mr. Campbell said.
He said they met a few weeks ago, and were hanging out with other friends, listening to Black Sabbath in a garage when Mr. Bourque suddenly got up to leave.
“Get hold of me later,” Mr. Campbell said.
“And he was like, ‘I don’t know. You take care, Mike. You have a good life.’ And I said, ‘No, man, really. You’re not going to come visit me? Come over any time, I’ll be here.’ And he was like, ‘That probably won’t be able to happen.’ ”
On Wednesday afternoon, a few hours before the shooting began, Mr. Bourque posted on his Facebook page lyrics from Hook in Mouth, a song by the U.S. thrash metal band Megadeth.