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Members of the Fredericton Police Force carry the casket for Const. Robb Costello at the regimental funeral for Costello and Const. Sara Burns, killed in the line of duty, in Fredericton on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. The two city police officers were among four people who died in a shooting in a residential area on the city's north side.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The deaths of two police officers have “created a ripple effect that stretches out as far as the ocean is deep,” Fredericton’s police chief told thousands of mourners at a regimental funeral on Saturday.

Leanne Fitch’s voice shook as she described her time working with Constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns, saying the pair died as heroes after responding to reports of a shooting, which also left civilians Bobbie Lee Wright and Donnie Robichaud dead.

“When we sign up to serve and protect our city, we are committing our entire life’s work to our service,” Fitch told the crowd of loved ones, dignitaries and fellow police officers gathered at the Aitken Centre on the campus of the University of New Brunswick.

“On Friday that service cost two of our police officers their lives.”

Read more: Fredericton Constable Sara Burns killed in shooting 'would treat everybody with respect’

‘Robb with two Bs’: Fredericton Constable Robb Costello remembered as an active member of the community

Burns’s husband Steven Burns fought back tears as he delivered an emotional speech to the crowded stadium Saturday afternoon.

She was the most beautiful and caring woman he ever met, he said, asking the surviving Fredericton officers at the funeral to not feel any guilt after her death.

“I want each and every one of you to know that she is at peace, and knows that you did everything you could to protect her,” he said.

“Don’t burden yourself with the ‘why,’ because you won’t find the answer.”

His tie and pocket square were yellow — his wife’s favourite colour — matching the yellow roses placed on top of her casket next to her police cap and belt.

Greg Morris, a family friend of Costello, said the fallen officer took great pride in his work and described being a police officer as his lifelong passion.

Morris said Costello was a kind and compassionate friend who loved his mother, once spending two days by her side while she was in the hospital.

Costello also loved basketball, Morris said, adding that his friend wasn’t very good at it.

But the most important thing in his life was his family, said Morris.

“Kassie and Kaitlyn, your dad would be so proud of the remarkable women you’re becoming today,” Morris said, addressing Costello’s daughters.

“He loved you both very much.”

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Police officers salute the two slain Fredericton Police officers Cst. Sara Burns and Cst. Robb Costello during a regimental funeral in Fredericton on Saturday, August 18, 2018.Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

Const. Debbie Stafford, the Master of Ceremonies for the funeral, told the packed stadium that the sacrifice made by Costello and Burns will never be forgotten.

“May today be a celebration of their lives and a way to honour them for making the ultimate sacrifice,” Stafford said.

At the beginning of the ceremony, officers laid the caps and belts of the fallen constables on top of their caskets, covered by Canadian flags, next to roses placed there by family members.

The flags were later carefully folded and given to Costello and Burns’ family.

The service began with a heart-wrenching bilingual rendition of “O Canada” by award-winning singer Measha Brueggergosman, a Fredericton native, followed by a smudging ceremony with sweetgrass, performed by St. Mary’s First Nation Elder Imelda Perley, to honour the officers’ transition from “Earth walk to spirit walk.”

Before the funeral began, 1,500 officers and first responders marched through the streets of Fredericton for a funeral procession, while hundreds of people lined the route, somberly watching.

Rain poured from the sky during the parade, mirroring the gloom that has taken over the small city of nearly 60,000.

“The rain in our city today represents the tears of sadness and grief that flow from our hearts brought about by the terrible and senseless loss of these two heroes we dearly love,” said Fredericton Police Force chaplain Reverent Verner Drost.

The parade included a massed band, several police motorcycles, and Grimsby, a light grey, 10-year-old police horse co-owned by Burns and fellow Fredericton officer Const. Stefan Decourcey.

The lives of the other two victims were also honoured this week by their families and friends.

A public visitation was held Wednesday evening for Wright at a funeral home near Woodstock, N.B., although her obituary said there would be no funeral service by request and her internment would be held at a later date.

Similarly, no funeral was held for Robichaud.

His widow, Melissa Robichaud, told The Canadian Press that he had requested to be cremated and that she planned to scatter his ashes Thursday evening along a strip of road the avid motorcyclist had often biked along.

Forty-eight-year-old Matthew Vincent Raymond has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the shooting, and is set to appear in court on Aug. 27.

On Friday a judge lifted a publication ban that had been imposed last Monday on court documents revealing details about how the deadly attack allegedly unfolded.

The ban came hours after several media outlets had already reported on what they contained.

The newly released documents say the accused gunman was wounded as he allegedly engaged another officer from his apartment window.

  • A Fredericton Police badge attached to flowers lays amongst a vigil made by members of the community in front of police headquarters in Fredericton, N.B. on Saturday, August 11, 2018 following a shooting where two city police officers were among four people killed on Friday.Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

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