(CNN) -- All Royal Canadian Mounted Police "understand the risks that come with the uniform," Canada's governor general said. Five Mounties surely had those risks on their minds this week when they responded to a call about a gunman in Moncton, New Brunswick.
And it didn't stop them from defending the quiet, tight-knit community of 70,000, located about 250 miles northeast of Bangor, Maine, Wednesday, their supervisors say.
The call said the man, now identified as Justin Bourque, 24, was on a Moncton road, wielding a firearm. Soon, shots rang out on the road, as Bourque fled into the woods, where more shots were fired.
Over a "short period of time," Bourque allegedly shot five officers, killing three and wounding two others, said Codiac RCMP Superintendent Marlene Snowman said.
The two injured officers required surgery on Thursday, police said. One has been released, while the other remains hospitalized.
Canada's National Post newspaper is calling it the nation's worst police tragedy in more than nine years, when four Mounties were ambushed and killed during a property seizure in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. Canadian media at the time touted that tragedy as the worst in a century.
"I can't begin to explain the sadness we feel. ... My thoughts and prayers remain with the families and loved ones of these fallen officers who died in the line of duty and our recovering officers," RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown said in a statement on Friday.
He identified the slain officers:
-- Constable David Joseph Ross, 32, of Victoriaville, Quebec, joined the RCMP in Ottawa. After graduating from the training academy in July 2007, he began working in general duty policing in New Brunswick's Codiac Detachment.
-- Constable Douglas James Larche, 40, of Saint John's, New Brunswick, joined the RCMP in Moncton. He finished training in February 2002 and served in two posts before joining the Codiac Detachment where he worked in highway patrol and general duty policing.
-- Constable Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, of Boulogne-Billancourt, France, joined the RCMP in Regina, Saskatchewan. He graduated from training in February 2008 and worked in general duty policing in the Codiac Detachment.
The injured officers are Constables Eric Stephane J. Dubois and Marie Darlene Goguen, who are "recovering well and are to be commended," Brown said.
The assistant commissioner said he would provide more details on the slain officers and their funeral arrangements in coming days.
The only other information he provided about the constables was that one of them had three children and that Larche received a commander's commendation in 2008 for saving the life of an unconscious baby in Moncton.
Ross was a police dog trainer and was married to Rachael Ross, who was pregnant with their second child, CNN affiliate CBC News reported. The couple already had a 19-month-old son.
"This is the most horrifying, difficult experience," Rachael Ross' mother told CBC.
The couple celebrated an anniversary last month, and several of Rachael's friends on Facebook posted birthday wishes on her wall in May.
Rachael Ross' sister-in-law told the National Post that Rachael got home from work Wednesday, the garage door was open and the barbecue had been left on. Her husband had been called in to work and left hastily, she told the newspaper.
"All these guys were family men, protectors of our society, great guys — and Dave was one of a kind," Raquel Vander Ploeg said. "Dave loved his job. He was good at his job. He was a police dog handler, and it was what he had striven to be for years, and he got it, and now this happens."
CNN's Stephanie Gallman and Justin Lear contributed to this report.