A heavily armed man that police have identified as Justin Bourque walks on Hildegard Drive in Moncton, New Brunswick,, after several shots were fired in the area. The man, suspected of killing three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, was spotted three times Thursday but has so far eluded a massive manhunt, police said. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Moncton Times & Transcript telegraphjournal.com, Viktor Pivovarov)

Montreal - Police in the eastern Canadian city of Moncton have surrounded a building where they believe a gunman who killed three Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers is hiding.

Police have deployed three armoured trucks to surround a house in the northern part of the city, asking the media and area residents not to reveal the exact location of the building for security reasons. It is unclear whether the suspect is in the building and whether there are any hostages with him.

Codiac RCMP Superintendent Marlene Snowman told reporters that police spotted the suspect three times Thursday but were unable to apprehend him.

The RCMP detachment in New Brunswick said they were searching for Justin Bourque, 24, who was “armed and dangerous.”

Police tweeted a picture of a suspect dressed in camouflage, carrying two rifles, and military-style webbing with ammunition pouches strapped to his body.

“We have an armed and dangerous individual that we do not exactly know where he is, and what that really means is that we need to collectively work together to ensure that nothing else happens, that we don't have somebody else injured, whether it be a citizen, whether it be a bystander, whether it be another police officer,” Roger Brown, RCMP assistant commissioner, told a news conference in Moncton Thursday.

Officials have warned people to stay inside and lock their doors.

“Please continue to be vigilant. If you see anything call 911. Please do NOT post police movements on social networks,” tweeted the local RCMP detachment on its Twitter feed.

“If you live in the marked area, stay inside/lock doors. Roads blocked. Avoid area,” the RCMP tweeted early Thursday, with a map indicating the search area.

RCMP spokesman Constable Damien Theriault said the officers were shot while responding to reports of an armed man wearing camouflage clothing. That initial call came at 7:20 pm (23:20 GMT) Wednesday.

“I lost three friends,” said Theriault. “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.”

The two wounded RCMP officers were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Theriault said.