MONCTON, New Brunswick -- Royal Canadian Mounted Police combed the streets and woods of this normally tranquil city Thursday in search of a man suspected of killing three officers in the deadliest attack on their ranks in nearly a decade.
The suspect, 24-year-old Justin Bourque, was armed with high-powered long firearms. He was spotted three times while eluding the massive manhunt that emptied roads and kept families hunkered in their homes in Moncton, an east-coast city where gun violence is rare.
Dozens of police officers could be seen in a part of the search perimeter with their weapons drawn, some glancing around buildings. Others, including tactical unit members, were patrolling streets within the cordoned-off area. Armored security trucks were also visible.
"Our search for the suspect is still ongoing," RCMP Cpl. Chantal Farrah said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "Our focus remains in the mountain north area."
Police urged residents to keep their doors locked and to turn on exterior lights to help the search.
"Stay at home, bar your doors and be vigilant," Cpl. Farrah said. "I know it's hard for families. You are in your house, you are locked, you have your kids, you want to go outside. But the police are saying to stay in."
Police were using air support, tactical teams and canine units, she said. Several hundred officers from New Brunswick and elsewhere across Canada were involved.
"We have deployed a large amount of resources from here and elsewhere, and we are well-equipped to face this situation," Cpl. Farrah said.
Mr. Bourque was spotted three times around the search area Thursday morning, Cmdr. Marlene Snowman said. He was wearing military camouflage and carrying two rifles in a photograph police released on Twitter. At one point, he was seen coming in and out of a wooded area, Cmdr. Snowman said.
"He's capable of moving into the wooded area and out," she said.
Cmdr. Snowman said Mr. Bourque was previously unknown to police, and investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting Wednesday evening, in which three officers were killed while responding to a call about an armed man. Two more officers were wounded. Police did not identify the dead or injured officers.
Commanding Officer Roger Brown said the wounded officers underwent surgery for non-life-threatening injuries Thursday, and he met with their families. One was later released from the hospital.
"The RCMP family is hurting. As is Moncton, New Brunswick, and our country," Officer Brown said.
It was the deadliest attack on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since 2005, when four officers were killed by a gunman on a farm in the western Canada province of Alberta. That attack remains the deadliest on Canadian police in 120 years.
Canada's Parliament observed a moment of silence, and the flag on Parliament Hill flew at half-staff. Government offices and schools were closed, and the city pulled buses off its roads. Mail delivery was suspended. Police commandeered armored trucks.
The homicides were the first this year in this city of 69,000 people about 180 miles east of the Maine border. RCMP Constable Damien Theriault said Moncton had no homicides last year.
Police released a map of a large portion of the city's northwest, including a heavily wooded area, where they wanted residents to remain indoors with doors locked. Families hunkered down in their basements.
Daniel St. Louis, a commercial photographer, said he came upon the scene around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and saw two blood-stained police vehicles on separate streets.