Const. Sara Mae Burns, 43, was identified Friday as one of the two officers killed in a shooting in Fredericton’s north side, which left a total of four people dead.
The shooting incident began at about 7 a.m. at an apartment complex on Brookside Drive. According to Police Chief Leanne Fitch, Fredericton police have one person in custody, who is being treated for serious injuries.
Burns has been a constable with the Fredericton Police since March 2016, according to a Facebook post by her husband Steven Burns.
“My beautiful and talented Sara Mae is now the latest City of Fredericton Police Officer. She has been on this path for almost 4 years now starting with getting her criminology degree and going back to school at the age of 35 while helping raise our boys…then having to leave home and the boys for 6 months to follow her dream at the Atlantic Police Academy, then going through the entire process with the city over the past year, but it’s all been worth it because as of 8:20 this morning she is now sworn in !”
According to the post, Burns went back to school at the age of 35 to pursue her criminology degree at St. Thomas University, and later attended the Atlantic Police Academy. Her husband, Steven Burns, is the founder of the Fredericton-based IT firm, Bulletproof.
Burns had been on the force for two years, and was an auxiliary officer for two years before that. She completed her on-the-job training with the Fredericton Police Force in 2015, according to a March 2016 article in the Daily Gleaner.
Burns graduated from Fredericton High School in 1994, and her husband Steven wished his wife a happy birthday via a Facebook post on July, 5.
In addition to her husband, Burns is survived by her three children. Since the shooting, friends, family and community members have posted tributes to Burns on their Facebook pages.
Brian Jones, a friend of both Steven and Sara Burns, posted a note on his Facebook on Friday evening, several hours after the attack.
“Sara at the age of 40 decided to become a police officer and realize her dream. This is what she loved,” the post read. Today her shift was done at 7 and she was about to go home, but forgot some things in the car and went back. The call came in and she decided to go with Rob on the call as Rob was taking the car next.
“This was Sara, she went above and beyond and gave her life helping others. We love you Sara,Steven loves you. Duncan, Malcolm and Anderson love you. Your mom and dad and Nana and Puppa Burns love you . The city of Fredericton loves you.”
The second officer killed in the shooting is 45-year-old Lawrence Robb Costello, who is survived by his partner and four children.
On Saturday, Burns’ family released the following statement;
“After the tragic events that took place earlier today, we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Const. Robb Costello, and the other victims who lost their lives. Our thanks go out to the Fredericton Police Force officers and all of the other first responders who answered the call and came to help,” it read.
“Sara absolutely loved her job, and went to work each shift committed to serving this great community. We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, and respectfully ask for privacy as we grieve.”
The RCMP is handling the homicide investigation into the shooting, and the serious incident response team in Nova Scotia will be investigating the deaths of Burns and Costello.
— With files from the Canadian Press.
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