FREDERICTON — The new relationship had been announced with a little blue heart posted on Facebook, but just days later a gunman in an apartment window brought it to a sudden and violent end.
For close friends and relatives of Bobbie Lee Wright, 32, and Donald Adam Robichaud, 42, the shooting deaths came as a stunning blow, ending the lives of two quiet people preparing for an outdoor adventure together.
“They were going to go zip lining after work. They were packing up the car before work and that’s when they got shot,” said Melissa Robichaud, Donald’s wife, from whom he recently separated.
Soon after, two officers from the Fredericton police force were also gunned down as they responded to the shots being fired in the north end of Fredericton.
“All four of those people were loved, very loved,” said Robichaud.
The 36-year-old resident of Traceyville, N.B., said in a telephone interview she’d been with her husband 22 years.
Robichaud has two teenaged sons, Zakkery and Draiden, and a daughter, Chloe, and is survived by his mother Jean, she said. The children’s names are tattooed on his neck.
“He was a good man,” said Robichaud, adding that he’d worked hard as a commercial painter and later as an autobody mechanic to support his family.
He had a passion for music, playing bass, drums and singing across New Brunswick until arthritis slowed the pace of his playing, she said.
In addition, he’d acquired a passion in recent years for riding his Harley-Davidson, and he and his wife would tour the region wearing the classic leather gear.
“He loved music. He loved his Harley-Davidson. He loved his three children. He had their names on his neck,” said Sean Callahan, a cousin, in an interview Saturday.
Relatives of Bobbie Lee Wright were unavailable for comment on Saturday, as a cousin said they were struggling with intense grief.
However, close friends said they could not understand why anyone would want to hurt a woman they’d known as quiet and caring.
Amanda Lee Leighton, 32, said Wright was a friend who in their teenage years came to visit and comfort her as she was grieving the death of her own mother.
News of her friend’s death had kept her up through the night.
“It’s heartbreaking and I think I’m still in shock,” she said in an interview about the friend she celebrated birthdays with in Woodstock, N.B.
“I hardly slept last night thinking about why this would happen to her and wondering how anyone could take a human life.”
Investigators said during a news conference Saturday they didn’t know if there was a connection between the man accused in the deaths, Matthew Raymond, 48, and either of the civilian victims.
However, both Robichaud and Callahan confirmed that Robichaud and Wright had recently started their relationship.
“It was about a week and a half, two weeks. They had been talking on the Internet and had their first date last Friday. Before that it was online,” said Robichaud.
Friends of Wright say they’ll miss the intimacy of get togethers to catch up on one another’s news, in what was a close circle of friends who’d bonded in junior high school.
“I feel horrible that this could happen to one of the nicest girls I had ever known,” said Leighton. “Literally, she never fought with anyone or disliked anyone.”
Leighton said in recent years she’d had less contact with Wright, as they were both busy in their lives in Fredericton.
But when she and a circle of friends who grew up in northwestern New Brunswick got together, they remained close.
“(We) always tried to catch up when our lives allowed us. She was a quiet girl. … She loved to hang out with friends and always had a smile on her face,” said Leighton.
“She was such a sweet loving young woman.”
Robichaud said her family is now planning a wake for the musician and autobody mechanic, in a way that recalls the kidney disease he lived with and his passion for his Harley-Davidson.
“He wanted his ashes spread over places where he used to drive his Harley-Davidson,” she said, adding that she hopes people will donate to the Kidney Foundation.
Raymond is expected to appear in court on Aug. 27 to face charges for the deaths.
— By Michael Tutton in Halifax with files from Steve Hennigar in Toronto.
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