Shooting victim's biker past not connected to his death, family says

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Donnie Robichaud was a full-patch member of Bacchus until one year ago, according to his family

A Fredericton shooting victim left Bacchus Motorcycle Club a year before his death, aiming to spend more time with his two teenage sons.

But his family says Donnie Robichaud's biker past is not connected to the shooting that took his life.

"He was away from his sons a lot and he wanted more time with them," said his wife, Melissa Robichaud.

"He felt like a bad father. He felt like a bad husband."

Donnie, 42, one of four victims of the shootings Friday, was a full-patch member of the New Brunswick-founded Bacchus Motorcycle Club before he left it about a year ago. 

Police have described the club as an outlaw motorcycle gang. It has also been described by investigators as the Switzerland of motorcycle clubs for its ability to get along with others, including Hells Angels.

In his obituary photo, Donnie is smiling, standing in front of a motorcycle and wearing a jacket with a patch declaring him a "Bacchus supporter."

The men in that club would become his brothers, according to Melissa, even after he left it behind.

Donnie Robichaud and his wife, Melissa, in the photo used in Donnie's obituary. (Melissa Robichaud)

Doesn't believe suspect knew husband

Donnie Robichaud, shown here with his wife Melissa, was a full-patch member of Bacchus until about a year ago, according to his family. But they say his biker past was not at all connected to Friday's shooting that took the life of Donnie and three other people. (Melissa Robichaud)

Police have yet to find any personal link between Donnie — or any of the other three victims of Friday's shootings — and the alleged gunman, 48-year-old Matthew Vincent Raymond.

The Robichauds separated in December, and the next month Donnie moved into the apartment complex where the shootings occurred.

Melissa Robichaud does not believe her husband knew Raymond.

Donnie was killed alongside his girlfriend, 32-year-old Bobbie Lee Wright, and Fredericton police officers Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns.

Bikers mourn 

Police have charged Raymond with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with their deaths.

It's alleged that he fired at the victims in the parking lot from an apartment window, killing Donnie and Wright, and then the two police officers.

As Melissa​ and her children grieve, she said Donnie's biker family is also trying to come to grips with what happened. The Bacchus Fredericton clubhouse posted about Donnie on Facebook on Saturday.

"Hard to believe this happened so close to home! RIP Donnie!!" the post says.

"They're all mourning him right now," Melissa said.

She said she expected many members of the club would attend a private, family viewing scheduled for Monday.

'Wind therapy'

Although he left Bacchus, Donnie Robichaud didn't stop riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. (Melissa Robichaud)

Donnie joined the Val Hellions motorcycle club about four years ago, according to his family.

He later patched over to its parent club, Bacchus, drawn by the feeling of brotherhood among its members.

"They were all there for each other," Melissa said. "They had each other's backs."

Even though he'd left Bacchus behind, Donnie still loved riding. He spent a winter restoring his Harley-Davidson motorcycle just the way he liked it.

"It was wind therapy, where he didn't have to think about anything except what was in front of him," Melissa said.

"All of his problems disappeared."

A biker's prayer

When she picked up his belongings from the police station on Sunday, Melissa kept close a silver chain with a biker's prayer engraved on it.

Donnie never took it off, she said, and he was wearing it at the time of his death.

"Let the moon's light guide me through the night," it reads.

"Lord, thank you for letting me be a biker."

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Karissa Donkin
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