Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers take cover behind their vehicles in Moncton, New Brunswick, on Wednesday. / Viktor Pivovarov, AP
Canadian Annette Wiley was enjoying a quiet night in her Moncton, New Brunswick, home when the first shots rang out a couple of blocks away.
"We thought it was fireworks," Wiley told USA TODAY on Thursday. "Then we saw a cop fly by."
Then more shots. Then the smell of burned gunpowder, confirming her worst fears.
The manhunt continued Thursday after a shooting rampage left three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers dead and two others wounded in Moncton, a city of about 70,000 people less than 180 miles from the Maine border.
One of the injured Mounties was released from the hospital Thursday, the RCMP said at an afternoon news briefing.
Authorities locked down a wide swath of the city and were searching for Justin Bourque, 24, after a man wearing camouflage and carrying two rifles late Wednesday began firing in Wiley's neighborhood.
Schools and most public buildings were closed Thursday, city buses stopped rolling, and mail wasn't being delivered as the manhunt dragged on. The police agency repeatedly tweeted: "If you live in the marked area stay inside / lock doors. Roads blocked. Traffic disrupted. Avoid area"
"Please continue to be vigilant. If you see anything call 911.Please do NOT post police movements on social networks." police said in another tweet.
A 19-year-old neighbor told the National Post her family tried to warn one undercover officer after he got out of his car. They watched the gunman come from behind and shoot him dead.
"He seemed confused when he showed up of where he should place himself," Vanessa Bernatchez said of the officer. "We banged on the windows, we told him, 'Turn around, turn around, he's there.' He turned around and it was too late."
She said the gunman then walked away slowly.
"He didn't even run. He literally just walked," she said. "I was completely sick to my stomach seeing someone just calmly kill another person, and just calmly leave the scene as if it was no big deal."
Bourque loves guns, hates authority and "wanted to go out with a bang ... and bring people with him," a former Walmart co-worker toldBusiness Insider.
He wanted to "give people something to remember him for," said Caitlin Isaac, who worked with Bourque years ago before he was fired for "attitude-related issues."
Shortly before the rampage, he posted Megadeath lyrics on his Facebook page. The song ends with the lines, "Don't try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come. I believe my kingdom will come."
Gun violence, particularly against police, is rare in Canada. In 2005, four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were killed in the western Canadian province of Alberta, the deadliest attack on Canadian police officers in 120 years. The gunman was killed.
Wiley was locked in her home with her 12-year-old daughter Thursday, unable to get to her job at a local coffee shop. She has lived in Moncton for 28 years and says she has never been so scared.
"The closest I've ever come was 9/11," Wiley said. "We weren't involved, but it was the same helpless feeling. Just find them."
Tascha Copp, 38, did go to work Thursday at a Moncton Dairy Queen outside the lockdown area. The drive-through was open but not the doors - "we're kind of afraid he may come in," she said. Copp lives on the outskirts of Moncton with her kids ages 5 and 11.
"I have two little kids and it's just scary knowing this man is out there on the loose," she said.
Daniel St. Louis, a commercial photographer, told the Associated Press he came upon the scene shortly after the shootings. "I walked over and I saw two feet, facing the street, toes up," said St. Louis, 51. "I realized, 'Oh, my God. There's somebody down.' As I got close, I realized it was an officer."
Mounted Police Constable Damien Theriault said Bourque was considered armed and dangerous. No motive for the shootings was released.
"I lost three friends," Theriault told Canada's CBC News. "And now we need to pull together and locate this individual as quickly as possible to ensure everyone's safety. We are professionals and we have a job to do right now. We will have time to grieve after."
New Brunswick police Commissioner Roger Brown tweeted: "It has been perhaps the darkest day in the history of the New Brunswick RCMP."
Contributing: Cogan Schneier, Melanie Eversley, Michael Winter
Copyright 2015 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Manhunt, fear grip Canada city after shooting rampage